Cox Media Group Ohio, Gannett strike deal

Cox Media Group Ohio and Gannett Publishing Services have struck a deal whereby Gannett Publishing Services will handle the production work for CMGO’s three daily newspapers and weekly publications at Gannett’s Indianapolis production plant. The daily publications are The Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun and Journal-News.

Assuming the deal in principle is finalized, the transfer of the work may happen over several months, beginning in the third quarter of this year, according to a release from Cox.

Around 75 full-time and about 60 part-time employees work at the impacted Cox plant in Franklin, Ohio, which was built in 1999. All affected employees at the plant are eligible for severance pay, the release said.

Bluetree Connect expands

Bluetree Group has given its print procurement brand, Bluetree Connect, a massive fillip with the appointment of a new director, staff and the allocation of additional resources.

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Bryan Shirley took over as director of Bluetree Connect in April, moving across from the Bluetree POS bespoke POS brand, which has now ceased operating. Shirley has been joined by four other staff on the brand that launched in the autumn of 2014 but was previously manned by just one part-time member of staff.

Shirley said: “We had enjoyed massive success in the last few years with Bluetree POS but we analysed the margins and realised that we weren’t making the same level of margins we were from the standard products.

“We could see this emerging requirement to link up automatically with the supply chain, therefore we made the decision to move our energies onto this and so far it is building like a skyscraper.

Since Shirley has taken over, the brand has also been given a new website and CRM system.

“The capability of what we could do hasn’t changed much but the resource support and marketing support to push it forward has,” he added.

Bluetree Connect works with clients to automate the print procurement process in order to help reduce transactional and administrative costs. It is aimed at helping print managers that deal with major clients on a regular basis, looking to automate the various processes involved with print procurement.

Shirley said that in the two full months since he has taken over (May and June), Bluetree Connect’s sales have risen 300% and 550% respectively on the same months in the previous year, leading it to currently be the fastest growing Bluetree brand.

It currently makes up around 5% of Bluetree’s approximate £28m turnover and Shirley is looking to get this figure to around the 10% mark by the end of the financial year. Last week alone it processed 320 orders and 478 jobs.

“If you’re buying 50 million A5 flyers over a year, split over 10,000 orders, we say rather than having people taking time to manually seek prices or process orders, cut that out and agree a price upfront for the year,” added Shirley.

The brand makeover comes as Bluetree’s Route One brand announces a summer investment of around £5m, which includes three new Horizon StitchLiners and a Horizon three-knife trimmer, along with significant upgrades in the litho and digital press department.

Bluetree, which mainly operates from a 9,290sqm production facility in Rotherham, is also comprised of web-to-print brands Instantprint and Instantprint Pro.

Xerox started digital printing 40 years ago

Forty years ago, the launch of the Xerox 9700 — the company’s first commercial laser printer — gave rise to the digital printing industry, which today generates more than $120 billion in global annual revenues.

The 9700 has been cited as the product that heralded the third wave of industrial automation (computer-driven printers) after steam-powered presses in the early 1800s and electric-powered presses later that century.

The Xerox 9700 helped usher in the wave of computer-driven automation in the 1970s that transformed data centers, copy departments, and ultimately, the printing industry around the world. As one of the most successful products in Xerox history.In the decade after its release, the 9700 was the printing press of choice to print bills and statements for credit cards, banks and utilities.

It led the market for high-speed, high-volume production of other types of documents that use transactional data as well, including insurance policies and investment reports. The 9700 was the first in a long line of iconic products that were made possible , including DocuTech and today’s iGen family.”

The 9700 was retired on the last day of 1997, ending 20 years of market leadership.

Staples Office Supply sold for $6.9 billion

Staples North America’s largest office supply and printer is being acquired by a private equity firm Sycamore Partners for approximately $6.9 billion.Staples’ Board of Directors has unanimously approved the merger agreement and recommends that all Staples stockholders vote in favor of the transaction.

It is expected to close no later than December, 2017. The closing is not subject to a financing condition.

Staples has been hurt in recent years by on-line ordering and it’s second attempt to buy Office Depot failed because opposition from antitrust regulators in the States. Staples operates a retail in house copy shop in most locations. They also subcontact commercial printing to trade printers.

No indication of what effect this buy out by a private equity firm will have on Staples, the Canadian operations or their copying/ printing division.