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The Box is Back – January 2023 M&A Activity

The simple box. We predicted it would happen. The market for box manufacturing has heated up and in the most recent month, the purchase of box printing companies has outpaced the number of deals involving label printing companies for the first time in our eleven‑plus years of tracking and commenting on M&A activity in the printing, packaging and related industries. (See Label Roll-Ups are Red Hot; Are Folding Cartons Next? – March 2022).

The Rigid Box

The original fiber-based box, the rigid box, is also known as a set-up box. As the name suggests, in its simplest form, these boxes are formed by wrapping, tucking, and gluing paper around stiff cardboard to form a rigid container that is shipped set up and ready to pack. While it is difficult to pin down the exact origin of the rigid box, several sources point to a German company that in 1817 produced a box to package The Game of Besieging, an early war strategy board game.

An alternate history credits the creation of the first commercial paperboard box to an English firm, M. Treverton & Son, curiously asserting that production began in the same year as the German claim, 1817. The rigid box prevailed as the dominant fiber-based box for almost a century. With the advent of more efficient methods of box production around 1900, the rigid box lost its place as the preferred volume utilitarian solution. The rigid box method is now most often used to package luxury and specialty items, highly decorated with foils, coated with gloss and soft-touch finishes, and formed into unique shapes.


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