Acquisitions Roundup

Printcafe to acquire printChannel, Manhattan Associates targets

Tempe, AZ  October 25, 2002  News of two acquisitions in the supply chain space this week, with Printcafe set to acquire printChannel, and Manhattan Associates targeting

Pittsburgh, Penn.-based Printcafe Software offers e-procurement software for managing print buying, as well as solutions for printers. The provider said this week that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets and intellectual property of printChannel, a provider of Web-based print procurement solutions to manufacturers, distributors and brokers of commercial print.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, although Printcafe said that it will not assume any printChannel obligations or liabilities other than in connection with certain unspecified customer contracts.

Founded in March 1998, San Francisco-based printChannel reportedly had solutions in use in more than 100 commercial printing organizations that, in turn, have set up more 1,200 corporate end users and numerous catalog print items for online ordering.

In connection with the transaction, Printcafe announced that its strategic partner, Creo, will assume ownership and development responsibilities for the portion of the printChannel e-commerce technology related to content management and workflow.

"We brought Creo into this in order to leverage their expertise to optimize the variable print, soft proofing, imposition and PDF creation functionality within the printChannel Classic and print I/O products," said Marc Olin, president and CEO of Printcafe. "We believe the printChannel technologies will fit very nicely in the Printcafe portfolio. And by teaming with Creo, we can offer, support and enhance what we believe is the best combined e-commerce and content management functionality available in the industry."

Olin said that Printcafe would work to ensure continuity of service and support for the printChannel solutions. "We have already had the chance to speak with users representing an estimated 80 percent of the printChannel transaction volume," Olin said. "Despite offers of free systems from our competition, we anticipate that most of the printChannel customers will go forward with us."

Olin added that Printcafe planned to integrate the printChannel technology with its own print management systems in the future and would involve the printChannel customers in the company's product development plans.

Printcafe said it expects to complete the printChannel transaction within the next several days, subject to the satisfaction of several closing conditions, including finalizing an agreement to license certain patented technology from a third party related to graphic image file conversion and prepress workflow process. Printcafe also said that it anticipates hiring certain key printChannel staff to support the system for current printChannel customers.

Meanwhile, supply chain execution specialist Manhattan Associates said in its third quarter earnings announcement (see related story) this week that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire the assets of, a Burlington, Mass.-based provider of integrated logistics planning and execution solutions for shippers and carriers.

The purchase price is expected to be approximately $20.0 million, and the parties expect to close the transaction in the fourth quarter, according to Manhattan Associates, which is headquartered in Atlanta. is owned primarily by Internet Capital Group (ICG), a Wayne, Penn.-based holding company that has held stakes in a variety of e-commerce and supply chain solution providers, including ICG Commerce and Syncra Systems.