Inkwise bought by Allied Press, Webstar joint venture

Allied Press chief executive Grant McKenzie
Allied Press chief executive Grant McKenzie
Christchurch print operation Inkwise has been bought for an undisclosed sum by a joint venture with Otago connections, the sale conditional on Commerce Commission approval.

Mainland Print is buying Inkwise, which prints a wide range of magazines and newspapers, including the The Star in Christchurch and Selwyn Times.

Incorporated in January, Mainland Print is a 50-50 joint venture between Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times, and numerous other media entities, and Auckland-based Webstar, a division of the Blue Star Group, the latter owned by Mercury Capital and Tom Sturgess.

Allied Press chief executive Grant McKenzie said it would be "business as usual" for the 77 Inkwise staff at the 26-year-old printer, but the firm would have a broader market outlook in the future.

"This is a great opportunity for us to grow the business and look at other print opportunities across the South Island and rest of New Zealand," Mr McKenzie said when contacted in Christchurch yesterday.

No details were released on the purchase price or Inkwise's annual turnover.

The purchase is scheduled to be settled by late September.

Bruce Bell, owner of the Ashburton Guardian and 50% shareholder of Inkwise, thanked staff and said he was pleased the business was joining a group of established and successful printing industry participants in Allied Press and Webstar.

Aside from Allied Press' numerous newspapers, it also has a stable of magazines, commercial print and television businesses across the South Island.

Webstar has print operations in West Auckland and Masterton, which print magazines, retail catalogues, direct mail material and directories for many of the country's best-known brands.

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