If 2007 goes down as “The Year of RR Donnelley,” it will do so as a result of a 65-day span at the turn of the year during which the conglomerate announced it would acquire three industry stalwarts: Perry Judd’s, Von Hoffman and Banta Corp. But the past year has been about more than consolidation and leveraged buyouts. North American printers continue to grapple with the mounting menace that is offshore manufacturing, fluctuating paper prices amid a series of mill shutdowns, and the ever-evolving technological demands of their customers. And yet, despite these challenges, there are also a number of opportunities facing the market.
Whether it’s an example of survival of the fittest for printers or merely another entry in a long line of acquisitions, RR Donnelley & Sons put the publishing industry on notice as it completed its “trilogy of transactions” this week, a course of action the industry’s top commercial printer says will help offer its customers greater capacity and flexibility. The Chicago-based printer announced it would make an all-cash purchase of educational-book printer Von Hoffmann from Visant Corp., in a deal valued at $412.5 million, RR Donnelley officials said Wednesday. “In concert with our fully integrated international production platform, the addition of Von Hoffmann’s facilities will offer