The paths of two of the better-known digital supplies vendors in North America are converging. On November 12, Katun Corporation (Minneapolis, MN) announced that it had acquired the color toner cartridge business of Oakland, NJ-based Media Sciences International, Inc. (MSI). MSI sells compatible color toner cartridges for Brother, Dell, Epson, Konica Minolta, Oki, Ricoh, Samsung, and Xerox—but not HP or Canon—devices. As part of the deal, Katun will also become the exclusive master distributor of Media Sciences’ line of solid ink sticks for Xerox and Tektronix devices.
More than ten times the size of MSI, Katun is following the ongoing industry trend of larger third-party supplies vendors snapping up market share by purchasing smaller competitors. According to its owner, Monomoy Capital Partners (http://www.mcpfunds.com/investments.php), Katun has annual sales of $290 million versus the $21.9 million MSI’s brought in this year. Not only does the MSI acquisition give Katun a broader product portfolio and more of the printer consumables market, it also provides it with additional manufacturing capabilities. The industry, which was once rife with niche players such as MSI, continues to consolidate. Today, the third-party supplies industry is increasingly made up of enormous non-OEM cartridge vendors seeking vertical integration and looking to control everything from empties collection, to manufacturing, to distribution. Katun’s acquisition of MSI follows similar moves by Clover Technologies, which has grown through acquisition to become a giant in North America’s third-party supplies industry. This year alone, Clover Technologies purchased NER Data Products’ imaging supplies division and Environmental Reclamation Services (ERS) (see News Briefing). And this spring, Golden Gate Capital purchased both Clover Technologies and West Point Products to create a true behemoth.