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Knox Print Media broadens horizon with Cactus takeover

Wednesday, 05 March 2008
By Print21

PE-backed diversified print group steps up to become largest trans-Tasman outdoor super-wide poster producer.
The strategic acquisition keeps Knox Print Media in niche markets expansion mode. The latest in a series of takeovers (following last year’s buyout of book printers, Southwood Press), Cactus Imaging consolidates the company’s position as an important regional player in both wide format and short run book printing. Its stable now includes Ligare book printing in Sydney along with Omnigraphics and F’Digital wide format in NZ.

Backed by Brett Jackson and Tim Sumner’s New Zealand-based private equity fund, Knox Equity Partners, the company is pursuing a dynamic strategy of taking ownership of key market segments. Described as being “relatively conservative” by Cliff Brigstocke, Group CEO, the low-key acquisition strategy has seen Knox emerge as a major player in its selected market segments.

Unlike other buyouts the group is not dependent on extracting major cost cutting synergies from its acquisitions.  “It’s about joining forces with good stand-alone businesses, although down the track there are obvious synergies to be had in such areas as preferred suppliers,” he said.

He identified suitable takeover targets as being well-managed, family-owned concerns that require extra capital to move to the next growth stage. There will be more acquisitions down the track but at present the company is looking at settling in its latest prize.

Commenting on the latest acquisition, Brigstocke said, “With Cactus Imaging Australia joining our growing network of specialist print providers, we can now deliver ‘grand’ and ‘wide’ format print solutions in both New Zealand and Australia.

“A trans-Tasman offering is important for our customers who have locations in Australia and New Zealand as it ensures seamless production, the latest in technology and consistency whilst delivering the benefits of economies of scale”.

Former joint owner of Cactus, Keith Ferrel, will remain with the company as general manager, while his partner, Warwick Spicer has opted for retirement. Recognised as a key driver of the business Ferrel has welcomed the opportunity to join with a larger print specialist group in order to realise longer-term goals.

“Knox Print Media has a proven record in supporting small to medium size specialist print business by developing a sound growth plan. The Knox team have a wealth of knowledge and their support during the transition phase has been fantastic,” said Ferrel.

“For me it is the best of both worlds, I remain in the business that I love and am passionate about, and have partners who will support me to further grow the business. For our customers, my message is business as usual with many potential benefits as we connect with the Knox Print Media group”.

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