IWCO Buys Fala to Build East Coast Presence

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After an attempt to sell the company two years ago that misfired, the owners of Fala Direct Marketing Inc. have found a new buyer in IWCO Direct.

IWCO, a Chanhassen, MN, print, production and fulfillment provider, announced its acquisition of Melville, NY-based Fala for an undisclosed sum yesterday.

IWCO is the second publicly announced buyer for Fala in the past two years, following an attempt by teleservices provider Call_Solutions Inc. to buy Fala in February 2003. That acquisition was called off in May 2003, apparently with the consent of both firms. Call_Solutions, Waukesha, WI, which at the time was transforming itself into a full-service direct marketing company, cited the current business conditions for the failure of the sale.

However, IWCO CEO Jim Andersen said there would be no repeat of 2003.

"The ink is dry," he said. "It's done."

IWCO has wanted to make an acquisition in the Northeast corridor, where 23 percent of the nation's population lives, since February, Andersen said. It's part of the company's strategy of providing turnkey envelope, printing, lettershop and postal services to direct mailers from key regional locations in the United States to reduce cycle time and get mail into consumer hands faster.

The direct mail supplier market remains pretty fragmented, Andersen said. Offering mailers a package of services and short turnaround times is a winning formula.

"I believe we can get our business up to near $500 million in a couple years," he said.

Fala, which has been in the same family for three generations, was chosen because its work culture matched IWCO's, Andersen said. Fala also had excess capacity that IWCO needed, as it has been forced to turn down work recently, he said.

IWCO is rebranding Fala's operations, Andersen said. Jeffrey Jurick, former CEO of Fala, will stay with IWCO as senior vice president of sales. Damon Snyder, former president of Lehigh Press, was named vice president and general manager of IWCO's New York operations. Snyder previously served in financial and operations executive positions at Quebecor and Banta.

IWCO has undergone changes of its own in the past year. In June 2004, it began a $5.5 million expansion of its lettershop capacity and other improvements, and it announced a management buyout of the company in February 2005.

"We're not done, by the way," Andersen said. "We've got a couple other things on the fire."

In April, Fala sold its presorting and commingling mail service subsidiary, Fala Sorting Services, to Pitney Bowes.

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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