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The Art of the Acquisition

(February 2009) posted on Thu Feb 26, 2009

The right way to buy a rival.

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By Jake Widman

Scholl isn’t sorry to have made the deal, even though it hasn’t worked out quite as well as he expected. "I had hoped to get more of their business and revenue out of it. We’ve received some, but not as much as I’d projected. But there’s still one less competitor. And even before our deal, there was another competitor that had folded shop in March 2008. So in the end, essentially I have two fewer competitors in the Seattle market than I did in the beginning of the year. That’s very worthwhile to me. And maybe I didn’t get the customers, but I got some really good employees that I don’t think I would ever have gotten away from Ivey."

He also appreciates some of the intangible benefits that have come with the deal: "The word on the street is probably the most beneficial aspect," he says. "It’s not just the business, it’s the ability to use the media to get your message out. It’s also an opportunity to raise your prices. I’m a little more bullish about raising my prices with two fewer competitors around."

American Screen Art: Finding companies that fit
Knoxville, Tennessee-based American Screen Art ( started in 1955 as a screen-printing company and has moved into digital over the years.

"We serve three markets," says Dennis Alexander, the company’s chief operating officer. "The first one is the beverage market. We produce the product identifiers for soft-drink dispensers-the headers and side decals-on pressure-sensitive vinyl and on polycarbonate sheet and film for the backlit and illuminated displays. Second, we produce graphics on pressure-sensitive vinyl for the fleet market, including the soft-drink companies plus private and common carriers. And third, we serve the retail market with a wide variety of point-of-sale products, both permanent and semipermanent."

American Screen Art (ASA) employs an HP TurboJet large-format digital printer, a Leggett & Platt (now Wifag Polytype) flatbed, an HP Indigo small-format digital press, and 5- and 6-color inline screen presses.

In July 2007, ASA acquired the assets of Visual Technologies and Clear Choice Marketing in Monroe, North Carolina. Visual Technologies specializes in "see-through" graphics for point-of-sale and point-of-purchase graphics. The manufacturing operations, along with some of the Visual Technologies staff, were moved to ASA’s site in Knoxville.