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An Acquisition Frenzy

(June 2005) posted on Mon Jun 06, 2005

Three major market developments hit the graphic arts.


By Gregory Sharpless

What will this acquisition mean to current Vutek users, as well as prospective buyers? For one, "Vutek will now be able to differentiate itself in other ways beyond print quality and speed," says Scott Schinlever, Vutek's vice president of marketing. "As our customers install multiple machines and begin driving a lot of volume through their shops, workflow becomes more and more key"?especially as turnaround times keep shrinking. We'll now have more of an end-to-end solution that customers will be able to use to run their entire business, and not just produce output."

Plus, says Art Cleary, Vutek's cofounder, Vutek customers will "benefit from EFI's culture of innovation, allowing us to remain on the leading edge. Their worldwide reputation, deep industry relationships, and financial stability will allow us to gain greater market reach and provide our valued customers with an even higher quality of service."

EFI is apparently looking to further migrate the Vutek brand and hardware into the commercial side of the marketplace, a strategy Vutek has already had some success with. "Commercial printers have customers who buy this output from someone else"?they're looking to grow their business," says Schinlever. "One of our fastest growing segments comprises the folks that traditionally have not been in superwide printing and are looking to grow into new applications. It's very good to have the companies come together, especially with EFI's footprint and reach into the commercial-print sector."

Headquartered in Foster City, CA, EFI (www.efi.com) employs more than 1,400 people and maintains 25 offices worldwide (US, Europe, Japan, China, Latin America, and the Pacific Rim). OEM partners include Canon, Encad, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Konica-Minolta, Oce, Xerox, and others. Some of the company's more recent acquisitions include: Splash Technology (color servers, 2000), Best GmbH (preprint, prepress, and inkjet proofing solutions, 2002), Printcafe (software solutions for the printing supply chain, 2003), and T/R Systems (software for print-ondemand, 2003).

Vutek (www.vutek.com) is located in Meredith, NH, and has more than 300 employees worldwide. In 2004, it reported revenues of approximately $130 million. At this spring's ISA show in Las Vegas, the company announced two new wide-format printers: the UltraVu 260 and the UltraVu II 5330 (see May issue, p. 19).


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