Knox pays NZ$50m for Australian publisher

New Zealand-based Knox Investment Partners has purchased CanPrint/ Union Offset as the eighth bolt-on to portfolio company OPUS Print Group.

Knox Investment Partners has added on CanPrint/ Union Offset, a Canberra-based company, to existing portfolio company OPUS Print Group.

The deal is worth NZ$50 million ($28 million; €21 million) including debt and equity, Bret Jackson, a managing director at the firm, said in an interview. He declined to provide further financial details.

CanPrint/ Union Offset carries out printing primarily for Australia’s federal government and government-related departments. Its main activity is book printing, but it is also engaged in a range of commercial print work including fliers, business stationery, catalogues and high-end colour printing.

OPUS Print Group’s consolidation started in May 2007 with the acquisition of Ligare Book Printers in Sydney. Since then, the company has acquired seven more companies in a series of platform and bolt-on acquisitions. OPUS now has a workforce of about 350 and revenues approaching NZ$100 million, Knox said.

The investment was made out of Knox Investment Partners Fund III, a NZ$60m fund raised exclusively from high net worth individuals in Australia and New Zealand. The fund makes equity investments of between NZ$5 million and NZ$20 million.

The fund has made roughly 10 investments including bolt-ons, but most of the NZ$24 million deployed so far went to two main deals, Jackson said. The two deals are OPUS Print Group and Mag Nation, which is a specialty magazine retail chain in Australia and New Zealand.

The firm’s first two funds raised a total of NZ$15 million and are both fully invested, returning an average gross internal rate of return of 41 percent.