MSI Acquires Data Communiqué; Firm Triples Size Since September

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Printing and mailing services company Metro Seliger Industries, a unit of Paris-based media group Havas Advertising, has picked up Data Communiqué, New York, an electronic document company. It is MSI's second major acquisition since September.

MSI, whose annual revenues in September stood at about $10 million, has since tripled in size with the combined purchases of Data Communiqué and Waldon Press, a printer and typesetter that MSI bought at summer's end. The company plans no staff reductions at Data Communiqué and is instead considering increasing its overall employee base, said Jeffrey Riback, president of the combined company, which has yet to be named. The deal formally closed just before Thanksgiving. Riback would not disclose further financial details.

Though the printing industry is undergoing increasing consolidation as small and mid-sized companies add muscle either to compete with the largest firms or become more attractive targets themselves, Riback said MSI's purchase of Data Communiqué was driven by strategic, rather than volume-driven, concerns.

"It gives us the ability to shift somewhat and focus on markets where we can produce the documents as well as distribute the documents," he said. The new company will target financial services, healthcare, pharmaceutical and publishing companies -- all major industries in the New York metro area. About 85 to 90 percent of MSI's current business is in New York.

In buying Data Communiqué, MSI hopes to get a leg up on its competition by evolving into a full electronic document publishing company. Until now, the company has handled mostly print-on-demand work, sheet-fed printing and mailing. Similarly, Waldon's traditional competitors typically can typeset and print but don't format document data before typesetting -- a capability Data Communiqué gives the firm. The new, combined company will try to attract the customers and prospects of MSI, Data Communiqué and Waldon, Riback said.

"We have a pretty good list of clients that we can play off. The real kicker is with the technology. We can do some things that our historical competitors can't do now," Riback said.

Data Communiqué handles database publishing, print-on-demand, computerized design and Internet services, and offers customers the ability to load their finished documents online. The company's ability to format raw data into documents should quicken the production process, Riback said, and replaces processes that normally might have to be done by hand.

"For instance, in the mutual fund industry, [Data Communiqué] can take information from fund administrators and program it to turn that data into things that go into mutual fund documents, like top 10 holdings and industry classifications for portfolios," he said.

The combined firm will release its new name and launch a corporate identity campaign in the new year, sending mailings to all three companies' customers. MSI is in the process of moving itself and Waldon into new headquarters in Carlstadt, NJ. Data Communiqué will remain in its Manhattan location, which will serve as the merged company's New York office.

Though most of his focus is now on bringing the companies together smoothly, Riback said the company is considering one or two further buyout targets.

"If anybody's got something that fits nice strategically, then we'll look at them," he said.

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