Friday, December 19, 2014

For those of you who follow the “imaging” industry …. (Cintas, Access, Berkshire Partners and Charrette mentioned)

For those of you who follow the “imaging” industry ….

Early in 2014, Cintas, a publicly traded company mostly involved in the uniform rental business, announced its intention to sell off its businesses providing document management, records management, document shredding, scanning and imaging services.  Subsequently, it sold its shredding business to Shred-it, a major player in the shredding industry. (Cintas retained a 42% interest in the shredding business it sold to Shred-it)

In November 2014, Cintas announced that it sold its document management, scanning and imaging services business to a company known as Access.  Here’s the announcement Access posted on its web-site about that deal:

In October 2014, Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based private equity group, whose name should be at least somewhat familiar to reprographers, acquired a majority interest in Access.  Here’s the announcement Access posted on its web-site about Berkshire’s “investment”:

Familiar, I say, because Berkshire Partners, on July 31, 1987, purchased Charrette Corp (from its founders, Lionel Spiro and Blair Brown.)  Berkshire later split Charrette into two companies and sold off Charrette ProGraphics (the reprographics business) to Gruppo Picking Pack (later renamed to Service Point) and sold off Charrette, Inc. (by then, a supplies company) to Pittman.  Just for reference, this was the announcement Berkshire Partners put up on its web-site back in 1987. (just the beginning of the announcement):

Berkshire Has Designs for Charrette Corp.
August 18, 1987 — Berkshire Partners on July 31 acquired Charrette Corp., a supplier of graphic imaging equipment, supplies and design services, in a management buyout for an undisclosed price, said Bradley Bloom, a managing director at the Boston firm.

Berkshire Partners made a ton of money on its investment in Charrette.  Evidently, even years later, Berkshire Partners feels that there is still money to be made investing in “imaging” businesses.  Don’t confuse Berkshire Partners with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway.  They are not the same company.  But, Berkshire-Hathaway did previously own a very large interest in Iron Mountain, but liquidated that interest in 2010.  Iron Mountain does not just store boxes.

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