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The Art of the Acquisition

(February 2009) posted on Thu Feb 26, 2009

The right way to buy a rival.


By Jake Widman

"Right now we have about 75 employees," says Alexander. "There were only a handful of people at Visual-eight, I believe-and we kept three of them." This was the second acquisition for the company, and in both cases, says Alexander, "we consolidated the manufacturing here. We retained the sales people that wanted to stay with us, and we’ve actually brought an employee or two from the company into the operation. It all depends on the skill set of the employees and our needs at the time."

"We keep our eyes and ears open in the marketplace for companies that may be a fit for us," Alexander continues. "With Visual, we knew the principal owners for many years. They approached us regarding an acquisition, and we felt that the product line and customers were a nice fit for our company."

Despite the iffy economy, Alexander says his company would make the acquisition again. "I think there’s a lot of consolidation going on in the industry," he says. "There’s an overcapacity in the industry, in my opinion, because we’ve got a lot of new digital technology that’s become more available and affordable, and people who aren’t in the business think they can get into it easily. But I don’t think the market is growing as fast as the capacity of the equipment that’s out there, which causes some businesses to start to flounder or fail. Those businesses may have a particular account that you’re looking for, or a product line that fits into or complements some of the things that you’re doing. With Visual Technologies, it was a case where there was a good fit, the dollars and cents made sense, and the payback looked good. So yes, we’d do it again."

KDM: Picking up customer base
KDM (kdmpop.com) is a large operation in Cincinnati, with some 275 employees. Company equipment includes an Inca digital printer, an HP Designjet 5000 printer, two EFI Vutek solvent ink printers, and more.


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