Esko, Artwork Systems Group Merge

Esko, Artwork Systems Group Merge

Sean Gallagher

Two Belgium-based suppliers of pre-press technology have merged, creating a single company with a worldwide reach.

Software developer Artwork Systems Group announced on Aug. 2 that it had reached an agreement for a majority share of its stock to be acquired by privately held Esko, a vendor of pre-packaged publishing systems.

Artwork Systems Group produces a family of pre-press and asset management software for Mac OS X, including the Odystar PDF-based workflow tool. Esko is a vendor of both pre-press software—including plug-in products for Adobe’s Illustrator—and short-run print production, focused primarily on packaging pre-press and production.

The target date for the completion of the purchase of the shares of Artwork Systems Group’s three principals is Aug. 9, after which Esko will make a mandatory public offer for the remaining shares at Eur 11.50 per share.

“The combination of Esko and Artwork Systems is a significant milestone in the consolidation of suppliers to the printing and publishing industry,” said Carsten Knudsen, Esko’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “Especially in the packaging segment, bundling the expertise, products and customer networks of both companies creates new and exciting opportunities for supply chain partners to improve collaboration and facilitate integration. Our attention now goes first and foremost to protect our respective customers’ investments into our solutions and to work closely with them to respond to their future requirements.”

Knudsen will become the CEO of the combined group. Guido Van der Schueren, who is currently the chairman of the board of directors of Artwork Systems Group NV, will become the chief commercial officer, in charge of integrated marketing and sales operations. The two executives will form the Executive Management Board, and both will serve as executive directors on the Supervisory Board of ESKO.

Van der Schueren said that the product lines of the two companies were complementary. “Starting from a common background with pre-press software for packaging specialists, Artwork Systems and Esko each have developed into broader and complementary application areas. Our combined portfolio of products and services offers appropriate solutions for virtually any customer in packaging, commercial printing and office/business publishing. Bringing together our expertise and innovative strength opens up significant growth opportunities for our customers and employees alike.”

Artwork Systems has its U.S. presence in Los Angeles. Esko maintains its U.S. headquarters in Vandalia, Ohio.

Copyright © 2007 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in PDFZone.