Last minute takeover saves publishing firm

Posted on 12 Nov 2008 by The Manufacturer

Almost 100 jobs have been saved at a Norfolk printing firm after the company was bought out when on the brink of administration.

The Cornwall-based MPG Books has acquired Biddles Limited in King’s Lynn to create a new incorporated company – MPG Biddles Ltd. The venture means the new company is the largest independent book manufacturer in the UK, according to the firm.

Administrators had been called in after concerns relating to a £10 million pensions deficit at Biddles. MPG then stepped in “within hours” to snap up the firm’s assets and prevent its 98-strong staff from adding to ever-growing unemployment statistics.

“Recognising the increasing dominance of the larger print groups and their ability to leverage relationships with global publishers has established the rationale for this acquisition which creates opportunities to consolidate within the industry by creating specialised units,” said Tony Chard, MD of MPG Books. “Only companies that have global outlook and ambitions will succeed in the future.”

Reflecting on the current market structure, Biddles MD, Rod Willett, said: “Poor profitability overall demands change to ensure business survival and the bringing together of our two operations ensures the vision and ambition for future sustainability.

“The main benefit of this deal, aside from keeping afloat, is that the two businesses complement eachother well in that MPG offer things that Biddles don’t and vice versa. Together we can offer a much more complete service,” he added. “There are also the economies of scale that we can look at to stregthen and protect our business.”

The two factions will continue to operate from their current locations in Bodmin, Cornwall and King’s Lynn, Norfolk.