Sale of Commercial Printing Company
In the latter part of 2019, Hornblower received the mandate to sell Ancient House Press PLC (AHP), a UK based commercial printing company catering to high-profile, large-scale clients across the UK. This well-established and longstanding business had established an outstanding reputation within the printing industry, benefitting from decades of industry experience.
Located in Ipswich, Suffolk, AHP delivers key printing services designed to meet the varied marketing demands of high volume, large scale customer projects with the capacity to accommodate a project producing millions of documents for companies with a national profile, through to producing short run printing projects for local businesses.
AHP delivers pre-press, web printing, sheet fed printing and print finishing services. Through these processes, AHP offers a core range of printed products, designed to accommodate the complete spectrum of print marketing demands. The company actively invests in technology on an ongoing basis to ensure leading edge printing and finishing capabilities in a constantly evolving industry.
AHP had acquired a number of recognised industry accreditations and memberships and is one of a select number of UK printing companies holding FSC Certification, demonstrating AHP’s proactive approach towards the environment and sustainability, through the sourcing and recommendation of responsibly managed paper products.
The business first went in the market with Hornblower in January 2020. The sale process commenced on an optimistic note, as the company presented a compelling proposition to potential buyers, due to clear growth opportunities and a large and high-profile client base.
The opportunity to acquire AHP came with significant scope for growth through a defined strategy of upgrading to new technologies and increasing capacity as technology and running speeds of printing machinery and equipment continue to improve.
AHP also benefitted from a large client base that included a significant proportion of very high-profile clients spread across the UK, and across a range of industry types including many end-user clients, large-scale print management companies and agencies, marketing service providers, travel agencies, charity agencies and publishers.
Marketing AHP generated healthy interest from potential buyers and by the start of lockdown on 23rd March, we had received 45 enquiries with 5 qualified, serious and funded parties engaged in discussions on the acquisition.
The onset of the lockdown in March 2020 saw activities in the travel industry grind to an abrupt halt. Unfortunately, AHP’s customer base was made up of a number of travel sector clients, which had an immediate impact on sales from March 2020. In the face of these unforeseen circumstances, it was important to be decisive in determining which action to take. The sale process was therefore put on hold until March 2021 once a clear route to recovery from the dip in sales had been identified.
In March 2021, the sale of AHP was resumed and activities began once again in earnest. As a result, a deal was quickly agreed with one of the original parties, RDCP Group, a diversified investment company managing £140 million of investments across a range of industries. The resultant deal was based on a very similar footing to what had been agreed in principle pre-pandemic.
Moreover, the vendors and the buyer quickly established a good working rapport, and the buyer was able to move swiftly to complete the deal.
Heads of terms were signed in March 2021 and the deal completed at the end of May 2021. The deal was managed by our International M&A Director, Mark Sykes. Mark manages business sales for Hornblower across the UK and internationally.
The vendors were also advised by Luke Rees of Langleys LLP (Legal), Andy Green of THP Chartered Accountants. The buyers were advised by Faisal