Midlands-based Claverley Group has bought B2B publisher HPCi Media for an undisclosed sum.

The deal was completed last month and announced to staff this week. HPCi will continue to operate from its current south London base, with all staff being retained, a statement said.

It is the third acquisition made by Precision Colour Printing (PCP) parent company Claverley since 2018, when it completed purchases of children’s magazine publisher Kennedy Publishing and print management firm Cubiquity.

The deal marks an expansion into cosmetics and beauty publishing for the Wolverhampton business, the media portfolio of which also includes regional titles Express & Star, Shropshire Star and Jersey Evening Post under its company, Guiton Group.

“We are delighted to have concluded the acquisition of HPCi Media,” said Claverley Group CEO Phil Inman.

“The business benefits from a loyal customer base and has enjoyed year-on-year revenue growth for a number of years. We look forward to working with the current team to support further growth and development.”

Also commenting on the acquisition, HPCi managing director Colin Bailey-Wood said: “After a number of successful years, we believe that the next stage of development for HPCi requires further investment. Claverley Group have a deep understanding of publishing and have the size and scale to support HPCi on the next stage of the journey.”

As well as HPCi Media, Cubiquity and Kennedy Publishing, Claverley Group comprises MNA Media, MNA Digital, newspaper publisher Guiton Group, publishing software group PCS and Shropshire-based Precision Colour Printing. It employs around 750 staff across the group, excluding HPCi Media, and turned over £87m in the 12 months to 3 January 2021.

Revenue was in 2020 down from £115m in 2019 as a result of the pandemic and due to a continuing decline in sales in its Midlands News Association (MNA) division, exacerbated by Covid restrictions. The group took the decision to suspend publication of its free weekly and monthly titles and, following a restructure in July 2020, made 102 staff redundant.

Despite the challenges, according to Claverley’s 2020/21 financial report, the group did not experience as severe a decline in sales across the group as originally anticipated and as revenues continue to improve quarter-on-quarter, trading profits are expected to recover to pre-Covid levels this year.

Furthermore a new mailing line with paper wrapping capability installed at PCP in May 2020, to replace two ageing lines, has been reaping rewards for the printing division and creating new secure job opportunities, the report stated.


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