Sussex-based Quad/Graphics Inc. has sold its equipment research and design business to St. Louis-based Baldwin Technology Co. Inc.
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Quad/Graphics' Sussex headquarters.[/caption]
The business, QuadTech, is based in Sussex and has locations in the Americas, Europe, China, Japan and India. In securities filings, Quad/Graphics has described QuadTech as a “leading manufacturer of electronic process control systems” for printers.
Quad had maintained the dedicated equipment business for years as part of a vertically-integrated strategy that also include capabilities in data management, imaging, logistics and distribution, ink manufacturing and paper procurement. The company also has a health and wellness subsidiary known as QuadMed.
An internal research and development group will continue to engineer, manufacture and service custom equipment for Quad/Graphics, Claire Ho, a Quad/Graphics spokeswoman, said in an email, adding the company would "no longer in the business of selling market-facing control-systems product lines to other printers."
"While the decision to sell QuadTech was not easy, we believe it is in the best long-term interest of QuadTech’s business, employees and customers. Baldwin values the knowledge, talent and expertise at QuadTech, and has the resources to advance QuadTech to the next level of growth and accomplishment," she said.
Baldwin is a provider of automation solutions, consumables and services for the print, packaging, textile and corrugated industries. The company plans to combine QuadTech with its web printing controls and PC Industries divisions to form a global platform that will operate as Baldwin Vision Systems. Karl Fritchen, QuadTech president, will lead the new Baldwin segment.
“The combination of products and expertise held within both companies will enable us to reach areas of the market we were unable to reach individually,” Fritchen said. “From an international operations and market perspective, each party’s strengths are highly complementary. This is definitely a situation where we can accomplish much more together than we could have as independent companies.”
QuadTech employees will move to another non-Quad location in the near future, Ho said. The location has not been finalized but it will be in Waukesha County.
Brent Becker, Baldwin president and chief executive officer, said the combination would create “an unmatched portfolio in commercial and newspaper automation.”
“I am very excited about the additional capabilities we will gain in the packaging markets. The work QuadTech has done recently on color within the packaging market clearly places us as the industry leader, and we have aggressive plans to build upon that position,” Becker said.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Quad/Graphics has been undergoing a shift in recent years that Joel Quadracci, Quad/Graphics chairman, president and chief executive officer, has described as the company’s third chapter. The transition emphasizes going beyond being a printer to become a marketing services company. The company has said the strategy has generated $100 million in new revenue for this year alone.
At the same time, industry printing volumes and pricing have continued to decline and that has pushed Quad’s revenue down. The company’s revenue was down 5.2 percent through the first nine months of the year.