Waseca’s Brown Printing To Be Sold For $100M

Wisconsin-based Quad/Graphics, Inc., is buying the large Minnesota printing company.

Waseca’s Brown Printing To Be Sold For $100M
Wisconsin-based Quad/Graphics Inc. has announced a deal to buy the Waseca-based Brown Printing Company for $100 million. According to a statement jointly released by the companies, the deal is expected to close in the second half of 2014.
Brown Printing is expected to produce about $350 million in revenue for fiscal 2014, according to the sale announcement. It's Minnesota's second-largest commercial printer, behind St. Paul-based Merrill Corporation.
The publicly traded Quad/Graphics is based in Sussex, Wisconsin, in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. According to the company’s latest annual filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Quad/Graphics reported revenue of $4.8 billion for 2013 with net earnings of $32.5 million. At the end of 2013, Quad/Graphics had 25,600 employees in North America, Latin America, and Europe. The company serves 8,000 clients through 147 facilities located in 20 countries.
Quad/Graphics has contracts with many of the largest magazine publishers in the United States and also has contracts with book publishers, direct mail marketers, and catalog publishers. According to its annual filing, Quad/Graphics also prints retail inserts for retailers including Minneapolis-based Target Corporation.
Even amid consolidation, the company’s annual filing notes that the printing industry remains intensely competitive and highly fragmented.
Although it’s based in Waseca, the southern Minnesota town where Brown Printing is the largest employer, the company has been owned since 1979 by Gruner + Jahr, Europe’s largest magazine publisher, which is based in Hamburg, Germany. Gruner + Jahr is part of the Bertelsmann Media Worldwide Group of companies.
Brown Printing has 1,850 employees at its three facilities, which include locations in Illinois and Pennsylvania.
The statement announcing the sale characterizes the $100 million price as “less than four times” Brown Printing’s adjusted earnings before income tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) “after taking into account anticipated synergies.”
Brown Printing has been the longtime printer for Minneapolis-based MSP Communications, parent company of Twin Cities Business.
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