Classic Graphics and Belk Printing Join Forces

By Epicomm
In January 10, 2011
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NAPL M&A Team Serves as Advisor to the Companies in Merger Creating Largest Privately Owned Commercial Printing Company in the Carolinas

Paramus, N.J. – 01/10/2011 – Two of the most respected names in the printing and graphic communications industry have joined forces with the acquisition by Classic Graphics, Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., of Belk Printing Technologies, Inc. of Pineville, N.C., for an undisclosed sum. The NAPL Mergers & Acquisition Team provided advice and guidance to the companies during a merger that creates the largest privately owned commercial printing company in the Carolinas.

The NAPL M&A Team was instrumental in evaluating the strategic fit of the companies, determining the value of Belk based on industry-specific M&A criteria, recommending the transaction structure to fairly allocate risk, and preparing Term Sheets that clarified details on key points.

“We were brought in by the companies to provide an objective and impartial assessment of the value of Belk and to preserve the value of that company’s real estate holdings,” says NAPL Senior Vice President and M&A specialist John Hyde, noting that the Association team “developed a creative approach to retaining the value that was an essential element in completing the combination.

“We also facilitated the dialogue between the two companies, helping them discuss the tough questions that must be asked and answered when two established organizations set out to consolidate operations,” he adds.

“NAPL was able to bring to the table not only expertise in legal and financial issues, but specific industry experience. We have a unique understanding of what works and what doesn’t, based on our unparalleled industry merger and acquisition experience,” says Hyde, “and we know how to apply that knowledge of best practices to each new project.”

“NAPL provided us with exactly the help we needed,” says David Pitts, Co-Owner of Classic Graphics. “We had great confidence in John Hyde’s ability to calculate the value of the deal and our confidence was borne out in that both we and Belk felt the valuation was fair and neither side moved off it.

“We have known the people at Belk for many years, and in many ways this was a merger of friends—and we wanted to remain friends during and after this transaction. NAPL certainly helped us achieve that goal,” he continues. “There were many consultants that would have liked to handle this project, but NAPL brought to the table invaluable industry experience in addition to its other capabilities. Not only were its services cost effective, but we feel we got a much more efficient deal done because of NAPL’s involvement.”

Tremendous Growth
“Classic Graphics has enjoyed tremendous organic growth over our 27-year history. Combining operations with a prominent and successful company such as Belk Printing will help us sustain, and hopefully extend, our growth ambitions,” says Pitts.

“The cultures and visions of our two companies are virtually identical,” he continues. “We share a philosophy of providing highly responsive and flexible service to our customers. Uniting the two companies can only create a stronger entity, allowing us to provide even more of the technology-related graphic communication services our customers expect. At the same time, our service ethic will continue to ensure the very highest quality of customized, personal attention.”

Ralph Belk, Jr., President and Co-owner of Belk Printing Technologies, who will assume the role of Managing Partner in the combined company, echoes Pitts’s enthusiasm for the acquisition: “When my father started Belk Printing in Charlotte in 1968, he began a tradition of craftsmanship and dedication to customer satisfaction that we have constantly sought to uphold,” he notes. “Blending the strengths of our company with those of Classic Graphics, one of the premier names in our industry, makes perfect sense for us and our customers.”

Belk anticipates retaining existing Belk customers, thanks in large part to the favorable reputation of Classic Graphics. “This is a great move for our customers,” he says. “They will have access to a wider and more sophisticated offering of services, including the integration of data, brand assets, print, and logistics. I have made a personal pledge to our customers that we will do everything in our power to make the transition seamless.”

While Pitts did not reveal financial terms of the transaction, he stated that projections for 2011 indicate a 20% growth in sales as a result of the acquisition. Sales figures for 2010 topped out at nearly $40 million; he expects sales for 2011 to reach close to $50 million. As previously announced, Classic Graphics will move during first quarter of this year to a new 180,000 sq. ft. facility. Integration of the Belk operation into Classic Graphics will take place shortly after completion of the move.

Pitts sees the acquisition as a win-win situation for all involved. “Classic Graphics will benefit from the addition of experienced, highly talented professionals to an already outstanding team. Belk employees will join an established, employee-owned company. And, most important,” he says, “customers of both companies will be served by one of the strongest privately held printing and graphic communications suppliers in the Southeast.”

75 West Century Road, Suite 100
Paramus, NJ, 07652-1408
Phone: (201) 634-9600
Fax: (201) 986-2976

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