Selig closing in on Blue Star

Australian Printer understands the parties are looking to finalise a deal before Christmas. Selig says, “There is nothing to report.”

Selig was the former CEO of Blue Star, which was formed around his family’s Craft Printing in 2005, and which then sold it to Champ Private Equity in 2006. Selig left Blue Star in 2007.

Champ will recoup only a fraction of their outlay. The loss-making Blue Star business has been up for sale for the past three months following a series of unsuccessful relaunches over the past two years.

Champ paid some NZ$375m in 2007 in what has been a disastrous venture; its initial plan was to buy a stack of medium sized print companies, consolidate them into a super company and float on the stock market.

However Champ failed to take account of the nature of print, particularly the relationship between print buyers and the print business owner, and the plan was ultimately torpedoed by the GFC which crushed any appetite for IPOs.

Selig’s deal only includes the Australian Blue Star businesses Webstar, Blue Star IQ, PRINT and DM GO . The New Zealand business, numbering around operations, are not included in the deal. The Australia division includes web offset, sheetfed offset and digital printing, as well as mailing operations and a print management business.

Selig took a few years out of print after selling to Champ, then in 2010 bought the assets of the failed Quality Print Group business from Paul Canty who left the company with debts approaching $20m – not the first time the colourful character had racked up a gigantic hole in a printing company. The new entity was named CaxtonWeb, and former Blue Star CEO Mike Shannon was put in charge.

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