Graphic Arts Advisors (GAA), M&A advisors and consultants focused exclusively on the printing, packaging, mailing, marketing services, brand management, and related graphic communications industries, has been working closely with clients to maintain continuity of its services, in accordance with government guidelines, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads across the country, threatening health and lives and upending the sustained economic expansion that has benefited our industry.
Mark Hahn, GAA Senior Managing Director and author of The Target Report, the industry source for M&A data and commentary, noted that “based on our research and what we see over the past month here at GAA, it is my view that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a sudden and dramatic shift in the M&A landscape in the printing, mailing, packaging, and graphic communications industries. Several transactions between financially healthy buyers and sellers that were scheduled for closing in March and April have been put on hold until the owners see a path back to some level of normalcy. At the same time, clients that were financially challenged before the virus hit have accelerated the sale process and/or have begun seeking alternatives to stem the losses that are sure to come. Other GAA clients are seeking our advice on how to communicate clearly with their lenders, trade suppliers, employees, and other constituents as the need to conserve cash becomes paramount.”
John Hyde, GAA Managing Director of Special Situations, pointed out that “at Graphic Arts Advisors, we hope for the best in the coming months. However, we realize that many owners in the printing and related industries will be facing new challenges created by the near-total shutdown of many sectors of the economy. In these situations, we leverage our printing industry-specific legal and financial expertise to advise owners and structure creative M&A transactions in cases where the seller has too much debt. The buyer’s M&A offer, by itself, may be insufficient to get the seller out from under their obligations. We offer proven, non-bankruptcy procedures for resolving debts while treating creditors fairly.”
“While Graphic Arts Advisors is well known for our core business serving profitable, well-capitalized companies,” said Hahn, “GAA has also built a niche practice unique in the industry assisting companies that require specialized restructuring and turnaround skills. It remains to be seen what the impact of the government stimulus and aid programs will be and how long it will take to re-open public spaces. Regardless, we expect consolidation to pick up across most, if not all, of the industry segments we serve. If prior experience is a guide, some owners will see opportunity to gain market share through strategic acquisition, and others will seek to gracefully transition from ownership under the backdrop of M&A and non-bankruptcy orderly wind-down options.
“Our team cares deeply about our industry and the many business friends and relationships we have across the U.S.,” Hahn added. “For those owners who need assistance, please know that GAA is open, operating on all cylinders, and here to help owners navigate the potentially rough water ahead, assisting buyers, sellers. and those wishing to stay the course.”