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Takeover #3 – Sydney book printers slip past ACCC watchdog

Wednesday, 26 September 2007
By Print 21 Online Article

One month after the ACCC knocked back PMP and McPherson’s merger, a merger between two book printing companies in Sydney restarts the book printing industry consolidation.


Ligare Book Printers, the third largest book printer in the country is taking over long established independent, Southwood Press without drawing fire from the competition cop. The deal is unlikely to attract the same level of criticism from the local book publishing industry due to smaller size of the merged company when compared to the two majors in Victoria and South Australia.

Ligare is now unquestionbably the third larges book printer in Australia, specialising in educational and legal books. The additon of Southwood’s titles will make it a more competitive force in the industry.

Located in Sydney’s inner-west, Southwood Press has been operating independently for 35 years. It now finds itself in the hands of private-equity back book printing company Ligare, which hopes the two can offer greater support to customers. The deal is proof of the uneven consolidation in the book industry and unpredictable nature of the ACCC.

"It is exciting to have Southwood Press join Ligare," said Cliff Brigstocke, CEO. "Over the years we have been consistently impressed by the people at Southwood and the quality of their work. Given the degree of current and likely market change, this acquisition will bring greater scale to Ligare from which we can better support our customers."

Changes in the Australian printing and publishing industry forced Chris Barnes, managing director of Southwood Press to realise that the company would be better equipped for the future if it were aligned with Ligare, the third largest book printer in Australia.

"As the Australian publishing industry has grown and evolved, the printing industry has experienced continual change in both technology and structure," Barnes said.

"We also anticipate that Australian publishers will welcome a more competitive local player in the printing industry. The core staff, the skills and the commitment to quality production will remain and be enhanced by the merger."
The official merger takes place on 8 October this year.

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