Banking & Finance and Manufacturing

Private equity firm acquires printer

August 17, 2015
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Private equity firm acquires publisher
Dickinson Press in Grand Rapids, founded in 1884, provides a range of printing services, including for bibles. Photo via fb.com

A private equity firm with a Michigan-focused fund announced today that it has acquired a local printer.

Blackford Capital in Grand Rapids said today that it has aquired Grand Rapids-based Dickinson Press.

The transaction is the fifth by Blackford's Michigan Prosperity Fund, which invests exclusively in Michigan companies to generate "best-in-class equity returns" and support the Michigan economy by "protecting and creating jobs."

Dickinson's management team will remain in place, with Ray Sevin continuing his role as president and CEO.

Investment banking firm New Direction Partners represented Dickinson Press in the sale.

Dickinson Press

Founded in 1884, Dickinson Press provides a range of printing services: lithographic and digital printing; perfect and case binding; and warehousing and fulfillment services.

Dickinson maintains an established presence in the niche religious printing market, and its ability to print on thin, lightweight paper "sets the company apart and provides a unique customer base across the country."

Dickinson also has a presence in other industries, such as media, finance, manufacturing and education.

The company produces various books and printed materials, including bibles, dictionaries, reference books, novels and children's books.

Dickinson Press operates out of a 120,000-square-foot facility at 5100 33rd St. SE and employs 120 people West Michigan.

"We're very pleased to join forces with the Blackford Capital team,” Sevin said.

Sevin expects Blackford’s investment to provide “broader opportunities and the benefit of leveraging additional operational expertise for our employees, customers and partners.”

Growth plans 

Martin Stein, Blackford Capital's managing director, said the firm will concentrate on Dickinson’s partnerships with “renowned religious publishing companies,” as well as the company’s other markets for “increased growth through add-ons.”

He noted the sales team will focus on penetration of these markets moving forward.

Blackford Capital will also focus on expansion efforts directed at “adjacent segments, such as automotive, health care and higher education that are designed to diversify the company's client base.”

Michigan Prosperity Fund

The Michigan Prosperity Fund, created in 2012, consists of four other companies: Fenton-based Burgaflex; Grand Rapids-based Custom Profile; metro Detroit-based Mopec; and Grand Haven-based Grand Transformers.

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