30 May 2024

Building your company’s value for the future

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Back in 2009 when my first Labels & Labeling column appeared, our industry looked a lot different. Local and regional entrepreneurs ran the show, technologies such as RFID and QR codes were iffy, and digital printing was a ‘specialty.’
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) were on everyone’s minds, and we wondered how the huge strategic deals (Multi-Color buying Collotype, Fort Dearborn grabbing Renaissance Mark, and York Label gobbling up a bunch of others) would affect the marketplace.
And thus, I was enlisted as your pundit for everything M&A. Fast forward 15 years, and the momentum hasn’t stopped. Although we’ve had a couple of brief stalls due to lending changes and Covid-19, the energy, excitement, and interest around the Labels and packaging market have only accelerated. Moreover, the billions brought into our industry from private equity (PE) over the last several years have kept us front and center as a target for worldwide investors.
We are now in a different place. The industry has consolidated, transforming what was an extremely fragmented marketplace into a group of larger, specialty-focused leaders. We have a few small, geographically dominating enterprises, but we have more businesses that are soon-to-be national or global players. PE has changed our industry and the way companies need to operate to compete.
In writing my final column for Labels & Labeling, I want to first express what an honor it has been to be here. My agency, The Open Approach, has been introduced to and supported all types of owners through this column. We have been proud to have advised and/or represented many of you in your transactions. And we are happy to provide our expertise to you down the road.
As we look to the future, perhaps our biggest change is in timing. We used to recommend a six-month acquisition and two-year exit plan, but the fast-changing dynamics and increasing regulations across manufacturing have truncated such schedules. When you start considering a move, be prepared to act quickly.
With PE owning many of our larger businesses, we know they will continue to seek acquisitions to grow revenue, as well as ways to exit to benefit investors. Their significant stake in our business means that many of the market’s M&A moves (and your company’s opportunities) will involve them.
For the full Labels & Labeling article click here.


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