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Private equity firm sells printer

November 13, 2018
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Kingsport Book plant
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A Grand Rapids private equity firm has sold a local printing company in the first exit from its Michigan-focused investment fund.

Brainerd, Minnesota-based CJK Group acquired last month Cascade Township-based Dickinson Press, a portfolio company of Blackford Capital since 2015.

CJK Group also acquired Church Hill, Tennessee-based Kingsport Book from Blackford Capital as part of the transaction.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cascade Township records show CJK Group acquired the property on which Dickinson Press is located at 5100 33rd St. SE for $2.8 million.

The acquired companies have been folded into Sheridan, a portfolio company of CJK Group. Dickinson Press will operate as Sheridan Publishing Grand Rapids and Kingsport Book will operate as Sheridan Specialty Binding, both from their current locations.

“We are very excited about this transaction,” said Chris Kurtzman, CEO, CJK Group. “The addition of lightweight paper printing capabilities at Sheridan Publishing Grand Rapids, combined with the specialty finishing at Sheridan Specialty Binding expands the service offerings within our portfolio of companies and for CJK Group customers.”

The sale of Dickinson Press was the first exit from Blackford’s Michigan Prosperity Fund, launched in 2012 to fund businesses that are either headquartered in Michigan or have significant operations in the state.

The fund was designed primarily to “support the Michigan economy by protecting and creating jobs within the state.”

Blackford's Michigan Prosperity Fund currently includes several companies: Grand Rapids-based Custom Profile; Oak Park-based Mopec; Grand Haven-based Grand Power Systems; Fenton-based Burgaflex; Hudsonville-based Grand Equipment; Hastings-based Quality Aluminum Products; Chesterfield Township-based Davalor Mold; and Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Ellison Bakery.

Dickinson Press

Founded in 1884, Dickinson Press — now Sheridan Publishing Grand Rapids — provides a range of printing services: lithographic and digital printing; perfect and case binding; and warehousing and fulfillment services.

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

Kingsport Book

Founded in 2003, Kingsport Book — now Sheridan Specialty Binding — provides high-end book finishing and fulfillment, producing deluxe trade and soft cover books with extra touches, including edge staining or gilding, tabs and ribbons, embossing, debossing, foil stamping and spine hubbing.

Sheridan Specialty Binding also includes a rapidly growing fulfillment and book distribution division.  

Blackford Capital

Founded in 2000, Blackford Capital is a private equity firm that makes majority-control investments in founder- and family-owned, lower middle-market manufacturing, distribution and services companies.

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