Walstead Investments is to acquire St Ives plc’s Web Division (“St Ives Web”) in a £20 million deal announced today. The acquisition will create a market-leading web offset printing group employing 1,525 staff across eleven manufacturing operations with annual turnover in excess of £170 million.
This will be Walstead’s fourth deal since December 2008 when it entered the UK web offset sector through the purchase of Wyndeham Press Group from Landsbanki, the failed Icelandic bank. In July 2009 Walstead bought Southernprint from Newsquest, and in October 2010 it acquired Apple Web from Trader Media Group. These transactions have been in line with Walstead’s strategy as a turnaround specialist to consolidate the sector.
St Ives Web employs 693 staff at its three manufacturing sites in Peterborough, Plymouth and Roche (Cornwall), and its head office in London. Clients include Condé Nast, Financial Times, Bauer Consumer Media, Centaur and The Economist Group. In its last reported year to 30 July 2010, the division achieved turnover of £70.5 million and made a pre-tax loss of £3.4 million before exceptional costs and a loss of £5.1 million after restructuring costs, provision releases and other one off items.
St Ives Web will be rebranded Wyndeham and operate as part of Wyndeham’s Web Division alongside Apple, Heron, Impact and Southernprint. The combined divisions will become the largest commercial web offset printing business in the UK, producing 72 weekly and 712 monthly magazine and other periodical and specialist titles. Turnover will be £150 million, representing approximately 23 per cent of the domestic market.
The transaction is subject to approval by St Ives plc’s shareholders at a General Meeting to be held on Wednesday 6 April 2011. Walstead will pay St Ives £15 million on completion, plus deferred consideration of £5 million over the following 24 months.
Funding for the acquisition has been provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.