Bob Johnson Sr. To Receive 2014 Visionary Award
Dallas, TX February 14, 2014: Printing & Imaging Association of MidAmerica has selected Robert “Bob” Johnson, Sr. as their 2014 Visionary Award Recipient. Johnson, who is the founder of JPS Graphics in Dallas, Texas, will be honored at the upcoming Graphic Excellence Awards Gala on April 3, 2014.
Bob started his printing career with Hallmark Cards in 1958 as Manager of Reproduction after graduating with a B.S. and M.S. degree from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. Subsequently he held management positions with World Publishing Company and Taylor Publishing Company before starting his own printing business, Johnson Printing Service, in 1978 with his wife Betty and his oldest son Bob Jr.
Over the course of his career he has been actively involved with many of the industry trade associations and played an active role with PIA MidAmerica. He served on its board of directors from 1971 to 1977 and held the role of President in 1976. From 1979 – 1993 he served as a Trustee of the PIA Insurance Benefit Trust, which provided health insurance benefits for the Association’s members. He continues to be an active member of the Association and serves as a Trustee of its educational foundation -- the Nolan Moore Memorial Education Foundation.
Bob was also active with the National Association of Print Leadership (NAPL) and served as a board member from 1993 to 2001. After receiving four NAPL Gold Awards, JPS Graphics Corp was inducted into the NAPL Printing Hall of Fame in 1993 and Bob was inducted into the Soderstrom Society in 1994.
Bob has been involved with many civic organizations over the course of the years. He was an instructor for the Dallas County Community College from 1986-1989. He served on the Board of the YMCA Metropolitan Dallas and was on the Adult Advisory committee for the Boys Scouts of America from 1979 to 1983.
Bob currently is a Trustee to Pittsburg State University Foundation Board, serves on the National Advisory Council, College of Technology, Pittsburg State University and participates in the St. Rita Bread Ministry working with homeless shelters.
Unisource Worldwide, Inc. and xpedx Agree to Merge
(January 28, 2014) – Distribution solutions businesses Unisource Worldwide, Inc. (“Unisource”) and xpedx will merge under the terms of a definitive agreement that would result in the creation of a new publicly traded company. The agreement to merge the two businesses was signed by International Paper, parent company of xpedx, and by UWW Holdings, Inc. the holding company of Unisource and owned indirectly by an affiliate of Bain Capital and by Georgia-Pacific, as well as certain of their affiliates.
Upon the expected completion of the merger in mid-2014, which is subject to certain closing conditions, the new company will have projected annual revenue in the range of $9 billion to $10 billion and will have about 9,500 team members across more than 170 distribution centers in North America. The new company is expected to generate approximately $200 million in synergies.
Allan Dragone, chief executive officer of Unisource, said, “This merger will create a new company with unique capabilities that will enable better service to customers across their core business segments of packaging, print and facility solutions. Building upon the strengths of both Unisource and xpedx, we believe the new company will be able to accelerate and enhance top-line growth opportunities across a complementary portfolio.”
Seth Meisel, a member of the Unisource board of directors and a managing director at Bain Capital, stated, “By bringing together these two businesses, we will be able to provide customers with innovative solutions and ideas to solve their toughest challenges in product packaging and fulfillment, paper and print management, supply chain and logistics services, and facility solutions. The new company will offer an unmatched combination of reach, product depth and service capabilities.”
Source: Company Press Release
EFI and Landa Form Strategic Alliance
EFI and Landa Corp. have entered into a partnership agreement for the development of a digital front end (DFE) as part of Landa's end-to-end Nanographic Printing solution. Landa's new DFE will employ high-performance, EFI-developed Fiery technology. With this technology, the Landa DFE will offer unique, new functionality for sheetfed and webfed Landa Nanographic Printing Presses in the commercial, folding carton, point-of-sale, publishing, and flexible packaging markets.
The agreement brings together two pioneering businesses in the digital printing industry with the vision to fundamentally change how mainstream applications are produced. Offering a breakthrough for cost-effectively printing short-to-medium job lengths up to five times faster than existing digital printing presses, Landa's revolutionary presses create demanding technical challenges for processing job data. EFI, as the worldwide leader in color DFE and digital print workflow technology, is uniquely positioned to deliver such cutting edge technology to meet Landa's stringent color management, job workflow and integrated MIS demands.
EFI CEO Guy Gecht and Landa Chairman and CEO Benny Landa announced the partnership to an audience of 1,000+ EFI customers during the opening session of Connect, EFI's annual users conference in Las Vegas.
Source: Company Press Release
VERSO To Acquire NewPage
Verso Paper Corp., a leading North American producer of coated papers, and NewPage Holdings Inc., a leading producer of printing and specialty papers, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verso will acquire NewPage in a transaction valued at $1.4 billion. Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will have sales of approximately $4.5 billion and 11 manufacturing facilities located in six states. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, is expected to close in the second half of 2014, subject to regulatory approvals.
Under the terms of the transaction, NewPage’s equity holders will receive total cash and debt consideration of $900 million, consisting of $250 million in cash, most of which will be paid to the stockholders as a special dividend prior to closing and the remainder of which will be paid at closing, and $650 million of new Verso first lien notes to be issued at closing.
NewPage’s equity holders also will receive shares of Verso common stock representing 20% (subject to potential adjustment up to 25% under certain circumstances) of the outstanding shares as of immediately prior to closing. Certain of NewPage’s stockholders owning a majority of the outstanding shares of NewPage common stock have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the approval of the transaction.
Verso will finance the acquisition through $750 million in committed financing, which will be used to pay the cash portion of the merger consideration and to refinance NewPage’s existing $500 million term loan prior to closing. The value of the transaction is $1.4 billion, composed of the cash consideration, the $650 million of new Verso first lien notes, the Verso common stock and the refinancing of NewPage’s $500 million term loan. In addition, Verso intends to conduct exchange offers and consent solicitations for its outstanding fixedrate second lien notes and subordinated notes. The closing of the acquisition is conditioned upon the consummation of the exchange offers. The transaction also is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.
Source: Company Press Release
Makin Testifies on Behalf of Industry
This past Tuesday, Michael Makin, Printing Industries of America’s President and CEO, testified at the Senate’s Judiciary Committee hearing on patent reform. Makin was the only representative representing small business, and of course, the printing industry.
“Prior to 2013 it was unheard of to have printing companies accused of patent infringement. This is no longer the case,” stated Makin. "Currently, we know of 8 patent trolls seeking licensing fees from printers or threatening litigation.” Makin went on to give examples. “One extortive letter issued to a Kansas printer with just 40 employees, demanded $75,000 dollars in licensing fees, if they did not pay within two weeks that would go up to $95,000. This is reprehensible. Needless to say threats of litigation places undue stress on an industry already struggling with low profits and challenging demand. Our average printers are forced to spend 10 to 15 thousand dollars just to hire lawyers initially to protect themselves.”
Makin went on to remind the panel of Senators of the harm patent trolls have on the economy, “Keep in mind Mr. Chairman (Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT) that patent trolls do not innovate. They do not promote economic growth. They do not contribute to education and scientific research. Most importantly patent trolls do not create jobs. Our businesses do.”
Earlier this month, the House passed the Innovation Act on a broad bipartisan vote of 325-91. Now the process begins in the Senate to create legislation which will protect patent holders and promote business growth. The hearing in its entirety can be seen here.
Photo: Michael Makin pictured with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) at the Senate Judiciary Hearing.