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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

"Vutek will be an excellent addition to EFI's range of best-of-breed innovative solutions for the commercial-print market," says Gecht. "There are many natural synergies between EFI's core expertise in digital-printing innovation and Vutek's digital-inkjet technology. With Vutek's profitable business model, we expect this acquisition to provide EFI with new revenue streams in the future." Gecht says the company is not looking to make any major changes to Vutek as a result of the acquisition, and that most of the Vutek management team will remain in place. EFI expects the transaction to close early in the third quarter of 2005.

Scitex plans to sell its Scitex Vision holdings
In mid-March, Scitex Corporation Ltd. announced that it is now engaged in preliminary negotiations for the possible sale of its holdings in Scitex Vision Ltd. It holds 75.5% of the outstanding share capital in the producer of wideformat printers. Scitex had previously announced that it was pursuing "various strategic alternatives," including a sale and an IPO of its holdings.

Formerly the wide-format printing division of Scitex Corporation, Scitex Vision (www.scitexvision.com) was spun off as Scitex Wide Format Printing Ltd. and later renamed. In January 2003, the company merged with Aprion Digital, the developer of piezo, drop-on-demand printheads. Headquartered in Israel, Scitex Vision currently has 460 employees around the world and had revenues of $128.2 million in the fiscal year 2004. The company reports that it has 1250 printer systems installed worldwide. Beyond Scitex Corporation, Scitex Vision has a few other shareholders as well, including: Ricoh Printing Systems, IBM, Toyo Ink, Clal Electronics, Discount Investments Corp., Hapoalim Nechasim (Menayot), Israel Infinity Venture Capital Funds, Optical Disc Decoration Ltd., and the Technology and Growth Funds.

Scitex Corporation (www.scitex.com) has investments in other companies beyond Scitex Vision. It also has a share of: Jemtex Inkjet Printing Ltd. (www.jemtex.com), the manufacturer and seller of inkjet-based digital-textile printing systems (73.9%); Objet Geometries Ltd. (www.2objet.com), which develops, manufactures, and markets ultra-thin layer rapid-prototyping systems and resins (22.9%); RealTimeImage Ltd. (www.realtimeimage.com), a provider of Internet imaging platforms (14.9%); and XMPie (www.xmpie.com), which produces software for direct marketers that integrates one-to-one campaigns across multiple media channels (3.5%).

Rumors were flying at this spring's ISA show about potential buyers, and in March, the Israeli business daily Globes reported that Hewlett-Packard was on the verge of buying Scitex Vision for $240 million. As of this writing, however, no suitor had officially stepped forward and no deal had been struck.

Adobe to acquire Macromedia
In a move that will most affect print providers who are also involved in online, multimedia, and cross-media projects, Adobe Systems (www.adobe.com) has agreed to acquire Macromedia (www.macromedia.com), the maker of software products including Dreamweaver, Flash, and Freehand. The acquisition is expected to close in the fall of this year.

"Customers are calling for integrated software solutions that enable them to create, manage, and deliver a wide range of compelling content and applications"? from documents and images to audio and video," says Bruce Chizen, Adobe's CEO. "By combining our powerful development, authoring, and collaboration software"? along with the complementary functionality of PDF and Flash"?Adobe has the opportunity to bring this vision to life with an industry- defining technology platform."

Once the acquisition is finalized, Macromedia will be integrated into Adobe; that is, it will not be a standalone entity. At this time, say the companies, no products will be phased out or discontinued as a result of this acquisition; however, over time, Macromedia products will transition to the Adobe brand.

"Both Macromedia and Adobe are passionate about creating and enabling great experiences across a wide range of devices and operating systems," says Stephen Elop, Macromedia's president and CEO, who will join Adobe as president of worldwide field operations. "Our combined teams will be a powerful force for innovation around cutting- edge platforms for delivering content and applications."

Macromedia is based in San Francisco and has approximately 1500 employees.



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