The Sheridan Group Is Acquired to Expand CJK Group’s Footprint

Many within the printing industry may not be very familiar with the Brainerd, Minn.-based CJK Group, despite the fact that it’s been on an industry acquisition tear the past several years. Led by CEO Chris Kurtzman, CJK Group is the holding company for Bang Printing, a manufacturer of books, catalogs, publications and fulfillment services located in Brainerd and Palmdale, Calif.; Hess Print Solutions in Brimfield, Ohio; Sentinel Printing in St. Cloud, Minn.; Victor Graphics in Baltimore; and Sinclair Printing in Los Angeles. That relative name obscurity may no longer be the case, however, thanks to The Sheridan Group.

CJK Group has expanded its geographic footprint and market vertical offerings with the acquisition of The Sheridan Group, a Hunt Valley, Md.-based provider of print, publishing services and technology solutions to publishers, associations, university presses and catalogers. Financial terms of the transaction between the two privately held entities was not disclosed.

The Sheridan Group reported annual sales of $196.5 million, 1,050 employees and a production specialty breakdown of 71% publications and 29% books to garner its No. 25 ranking on the most recent 2016 Printing Impressions 400 list of the top printing companies in the U.S. and Canada.

According to spokesperson Susan Wiercinski, VP of marketing at The Sheridan Group, the four Sheridan production facilities (plus its corporate office in Hunt Valley, Md.), its current staffing levels and the use of the Sheridan name for branding purposes will all remain in place.

With the closure of the deal today, former Sheridan CEO John Saxton and CFO Grant Gooder have departed. But other members of the Sheridan senior management team remain in place, including COO Pat Stricker, Chief Sales Officer Paul Bozuwa, Managing Director of Journal Services Gary Kittredge, Chief Human Resources Officer Dale Tepp and Chief Technology Officer Andrew Fawcett. They now report directly to Kurtzman.

The Sheridan Group operates four production facilities. Its Hanover, Pa., plant primarily prints short-run journals for the Scientific, Technical & Medical (STM) publishing market. Housing primarily sheetfed offset and digital output printing devices, run lengths range from 50,000 copies down to one. Sheridan’s Hanover, N.H., facility specializes in longer run, web offset printed (25,000 to 100,000) journals, magazines and catalogs. The Chelsea, Mich., plant specializes in web, sheetfed offset and digitally printed books; while the Waterbury, Vt. location provides journal composition and copyediting outsourcing, digital edition, mobile app and workflow optimization services. Sheridan has also invested in high-speed color and monochrome production inkjet printing capabilities.

Kurtzman’s current plan is to maintain the individual company identities that comprise CJK Group, which all have strong histories and heritages, Wiercinski told Printing Impressions. The Sheridan Group name itself consists of a rebranding in 2013 of the former Sheridan Press, Sheridan Books, Dartmouth Printing and Dartmouth Journal Services entities. The group, in turn, was rebranded as Sheridan in 2015.

According to Wiercinski, Kurtzman has been part of the printing industry since he was 10 years old and, as such, printing is “near and dear to his heart.” Kurtzman reportedly acquired Bang Printing from his father in 2005.

She indicates that The Sheridan Group is an attractive acquisition target because it enables CJK Group to enter the shorter-run STM marketplace, broadens its East Coast footprint, provides added technical capabilities, and bolsters the further adoption of multi-location best practices. For example, The Sheridan Group has streamlined its various platforms; HR and and production are on the same systems company-wide, purchasing/procurement had been consolidated and the Deming principles of lean manufacturing have been implemented throughout.

“We are very excited about the transaction and its transformational effect on our organizations. Strategically, the combined platform is well-positioned to provide our clients with an array of unique products, services and solutions,” stated Kurtzman, in a press release. “The combined entity, with its national footprint, will be one of the most diverse, technologically advanced and customer-centric providers in the space.”

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