The two companies have combined annual sales of $55 million, but Ripon vice president of operations Jeff Spence told PrintWeek: “This was an asset acquisition — so at least in our eyes it’s not a merger and it’s not a ‘tuck in’. We’re operating with them under a transition services agreement, so outside of the 10 sales reps that have joined Ripon, the rest of the employees are still working for Sells.”
Among the equipment picked up in the deal are a Heidelberg SM-102 — which will be relocated to Ripon’s facility and two Xerox iGen 4s which were part of a Milwaukee, WI-based Sells digital printing division called Traxion. Spence indicated those presses will remain in Milwaukee with the Traxion name now becoming part of Ripon Printers.
Ripon sales and marketing manager Jeff Hopp noted that while both printers specialized in catalogs: “There is very little customer overlap. We are more East Coast based and they are very Midwest based. They are a very high profile name in Wisconsin manufacturing market because they produced a lot of catalogs for those companies.”
In a release announcing the deal, Ripon president and CEO Andy Lyke said: “This is an exciting time for our customers and for Ripon Printers. Sells Printing is well respected in the Milwaukee market and beyond. We anticipate the synergy created by the combining of these two companies will create more employment opportunities, particularly at our main plant in Ripon.”
Sells was privately held, but unlike a lot of recent commercial printer sales, was not a family-owned business. In a statement, Sells president Donald Schroeder, noted: “Once we decided that being acquired was the best course of action, choosing Ripon Printers was easy.
“The Lyke family has provided steady, successful leadership for the past 50 years that resulted in significant company growth. The Lykes and the team at Ripon Printers have also created a customer-first culture that Sells Printing customers value and have come to expect.”
Hopp noted Ripon’s business has been on the upswing, adding: “We saw an increase in sales in 2011, though it was not as dramatic as we would have liked to have seen — and we’ve had a great first quarter in 2012.”