Biz Notes

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

Mergers & Acquisitions

Quad/Graphics Acquires Openfirst

Quad/Graphics Inc. announced it has purchased a majority interest in Openfirst LLC, a Milwaukee-based direct mail communications provider.

Recognized for its expertise in processing complex data files for expedited mail-piece production, Openfirst will enhance Quad/Graphics’ presence and capabilities in the growing direct mail industry.

Openfirst will operate as a subsidiary of Sussex-based Quad/Graphics, maintaining its name, facilities and management team, which is led by president and chief executive officer Robert Kraft. Kraft founded the company in 1996.

"Openfirst is a premier direct mail communications company that shares our commitment to advancing ink on paper through the use of leading-edge technology," said Joel Quadracci, Quad/Graphics’ president and CEO. "Openfirst’s lettershop capabilities complement our direct marketing expertise. Together, we’ll be able to leverage each other’s platforms to offer a broader array of services to marketers everywhere."

"With Quad/Graphics’ financial strength, we’ll be able to continue on our trajectory of growth by providing our clients with timely, highly relevant and cost-effective one-to-one communications solutions," Kraft said. "We are proud to be part of such a forward-thinking company like Quad/Graphics."

Openfirst, which also has a production facility in Fredericksburg, Va., has approximately 400 employees and will generate more than $40 million in sales in 2006.

Openfirst serves franchise-based, direct-mail-revenue-dependent companies in the automotive, financial, retail and insurance industries and others.

Swiss Company to Acquire New Berlin Firm

Software One Inc., a New Berlin-based provider of software licensing solutions and Microsoft LAR (large account reseller) services, is being acquired by Swiss-based Softwarepipeline Inc.

The merged company ultimately will adopt the Software One name, according to company spokesman Keith Ackerman. Software One’s 44 employees will be retained, Ackerman said.

The merger enables Software One to broaden its service territory to Europe and expand its services, Ackerman said.

"The founders, existing owners and management team of Software One will continue to manage the U.S. division. This will enable us to benefit from established contacts and continue to develop American corporate business," said Patrick Winter, chief executive officer of international business strategy and development for Softwarepipeline.

Customers and partners of the new Software One will benefit from international support, enhanced software licensing procurement tools and SAM (software asset management) services, he said.

"In the past few years, the predictions of a global economy have come true. In the late 1990s, the need to support the software licensing needs of customers on a global scale was reserved for large enterprise customers and the traditional enterprise-focused LARs.

Advances in collaborative technology and the internet have made it possible for smaller companies to participate in the global market. These medium-sized organizations now have a software licensing partner that understands their requirements and is focused on supporting them as they reach outside of the United States for partners, suppliers and customers," said Michael Quinn, president of Software One.

"We are excited by the opportunity this acquisition brings to Software One and Softwarepipeline. As our customers’ needs for global partners increases, having successful channel partners in multiple regions is critical to our mutual success," said Erez Wohl, group manager of worldwide volume licensing channel strategy for Microsoft Corp.

Active in all 50 states, Software One has a broad base of corporate, academic and nonprofit customers while providing software and software licensing solutions for major publishers, including Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, Citrix and McAfee.

Brady Corp. Acquires Another Australian Company

Brady Corp. a Milwaukee-based provider of identification solutions and specialty materials, announced it has acquired Carroll Australasia Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, Australia.

Carroll is a leading supplier and distributor of identification products for the electrical industry, with a complete line of wiring accessory products including prepared wire and cable markers, termination and connection supplies, wire-bundling materials and electrical circuit protection products. The company also markets to the automotive and marine markets under the brand "Quikcrimp."

Founded in 1977, Carroll had sales of approximately $8 million in fiscal 2005.

"Carroll and Brady are a natural fit. For example, Carroll offers a bureau service to pre-print wire markers to customers’ specifications, while Brady has a long tradition of offering customers a do-it-yourself wire-marking solution with a broad range of printers and consumables. Combining these options will enhance the offer to both our customers," said Brady Australia managing director Stephen Millar.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Investors Buy Wellspring Fitness in Waukesha

Peter Wick and Robert Sanderson have purchased a majority interest in Waukesha-based Wellspring Fitness Systems LLC.

Founder Steve Menzel will remain with the company as sales manager. Wick will be the president of the new firm, and Sanderson will be executive vice president.

The acquired company will be known as Wellspring Fitness Systems Inc. and will operate from the same office and warehouse at N30 W22377 Green Road, Suite E, in Waukesha.

The company is a distributor of commercial fitness equipment throughout Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

"We have been looking for a business acquisition for the better part of two years. When we saw Wellspring Fitness and met Steve Menzel, we knew we had an excellent candidate. Wellspring has grown dramatically over the past several years, and we see growth continuing. Health and personal fitness continues to be an increasingly important market segment, particularly as baby boomers battle to retain their youth," said Wick.

"We needed an experienced management team to take this business to the next level, and that’s what we’ve been able to accomplish with this transaction," Menzel said.

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