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Wetherby-based print service provider bought in multi-million pound deal


Wetherby-based print provider, Staff Technology Systems (STS), which was founded in 1997 by Peter Langstaff, has been acquired in a multi-million pound deal by Annodata, a leading national provider of communications, managed print and IT services.

The acquisition, which was funded entirely by existing cash reserves, will extend Annodata’s specialist print capabilities and increase its annual revenues above £80m with more than 400 employees.

The two businesses will be integrated in full, with Annodata’s Leeds office set to be relocated to STS’s offices in Wetherby. STS’s existing staff, including managing director, Peter Langstaff will remain in situ and use their experience and expertise to play a pivotal role in the newly enlarged business.

STS, a wholly owned subsidiary of UTI Limited, became an attractive takeover target as it developed a niche in specialist print services and a reputation for innovation and cost effectiveness.

In addition to advising customers in both the private and public sectors about the benefits of integrating various digital networked print technologies and associated software products, it has also developed wide format print services in association with key supply partners including Ricoh, Kip and Canon.

As well as providing these services to the legal, financial and housing sectors, STS provides wide format print to over 90 percent of the regional press for the daily production of their ‘breaking news’ billposters. Among the newspaper customers are Yorkshire Post Newspaper Group, Newsquest, Hull Daily Mail, Localworld, Trinity Mirror and Archant.

Speaking about the deal STS’s managing director, Peter Langstaff, said,

“This is an exciting time for STS and great news for our staff and, equally important our customers, who will benefit from the additional resources and capabilities that a company of Annodata’s size and breadth can offer.

“In addition, it means that our supply partners will have the opportunity to present for a larger amount of expenditure by Annodata, given the increased revenues. Annodata has a long history of making acquisitions, so I have every confidence that the integration of STS will be smooth and I look forward to working closely with the team to move the business forward.”

Annodata’s chairman, Martin St Quinton, believes the acquisition is a perfect fit.

“There is a great synergy between the two companies as STS has an impressive portfolio of longstanding customers including national and local newspaper groups and, much like Annodata, is particularly strong in the housing association market,” he said

Advising UTI on the deal was corporate finance lawyer Martin Frost, director at Lupton Fawcett, and Daniel Sowden, partner at BHP chartered accountants, who acted as financial advisor to the vendors. Both operate from their respective York offices.

Commenting on the sale, Martin Frost, said,  “This is a fantastic success story for Peter Langstaff and his team who have grown the company from scratch to become one of the leading specialist print providers in the UK and, ultimately, an attractive takeover target for one of the leading companies in the sector. It is a substantial deal which we were able to complete at breakneck speed. From our initial briefing it was signed sealed and delivered within a month".

Daniel Sowden added, “I have worked closely with Peter Langstaff for over a decade, and it has been great to see his long established company grow to become a leader in managed print services. STS is a great Yorkshire company and it has been a pleasure working with Peter to help him to achieve his goals.”

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