M&A Roundup: Visual Edge Expands MIT Footprint; Xerox and ARMOR Group Swing Deals

Industry megadealer Visual Edge made a big M&A splash this week by obtaining Brayton Associates of Southington, Connecticut. Xerox also tapped into the New England IT market as well in acquiring Competitive Computing, while ARMOR Group and International Imaging Materials (IIMAK) merged to form a $400 million provider in the thermal transfer space.

Visual Edge Technology expanded its managed IT services footprint in New England with the acquisition of Brayton Associates, a 40-year veteran of the computer industry. Brayton Associates brings a broad base of expertise not only to the New England territory but to the national Visual Edge IT brand.

“By joining forces with Visual Edge, Brayton Associates will have full access to an expanded portfolio of technology solutions, equipment and services, allowing us to move further into client accounts and to help support the entire Visual Edge IT Eastern Region,” shared Bruce Brayton, owner and president of Brayton Associates.

Brayton Associates has grown its business from the break/fix model of the 1980s into a total managed IT services organization that guides and supports clients’ technology needs. Brayton has invested in technology solutions and expertise to provide fast, reliable, and secure technology services.

Austin Vancheieri, Visual Edge

“Brayton adds to our extensive technology capabilities serving our markets,” said Austin Vanchieri, chairman and CEO of Visual Edge Technology. “Continuing our managed services growth both organically and through acquisitions demonstrates our bold approach in North America.”

Visual Edge has nearly 90 locations across the country that provide secure technology solutions for IT and print/copy to its customer base. With the acquisition of Brayton Associates, the Visual Edge IT brand not only increases its pool of expertise but continues to boost its reach with managed IT services and security solutions.


The ARMOR Group acquired IIMAK (International Imaging Materials, Inc.) and the combined thermal transfer activity will be called ARMOR-IIMAK, with consolidated revenues of more than $400 million. The union firmly establishes ARMOR-IIMAK as the global market leader in the design and production of thermal transfer ribbons for the printing of variable traceability data on labels and flexible packaging.

Hubert de Boisredon, ARMOR Group

“Convinced of its strategic importance, I have actively pursued this merger and am especially proud today to be able to announce this acquisition,” said Hubert de Boisredon, chairman and CEO of the ARMOR Group. “Our main objective will be to unify our strengths in order to benefit our customers, partners and employees.”

With a history for both companies dating back to the 1980s through a shared license from the Japanese company Fujicopian until 1998, ARMOR has enjoyed strong growth in Europe, with IIMAK similarly benefiting in the US. ARMOR-IIMAK now has 1,650 employees producing over 2.5bn m² of thermal transfer ribbon. CEO Christian Lefort, who only recently joined the ARMOR Group, will be leading the entity.

“The paths of our two companies, both historic market leaders in thermal transfer technology, cross once again and will now be irrevocably united,” Lefort said. “This merger will benefit all our customers and external partners, as well as our employees. I am both delighted and honored to lead this merger with the full support of everyone at IIMAK and ARMOR.”

Doug Wagner, CEO of IIMAK, has been appointed president of ARMOR-IIMAK Americas. He will play a key role in the integration process and in the realization of the synergies within the new entity, especially in the Americas.

Doug Wagner, ARMOR-IIMAK

“I am pleased we were able to make this historic merger a reality,” Wagner said.  The combination of our two companies results in a strong global organization which will create new value for our customers and new opportunities for our employees. We are excited to be part of this new journey as ARMOR-IIMAK.”

It should also be stressed that the two complementary companies are joining forces with multiple objectives, including:

  • Strengthening their presence in North and South America;
  • Offering customers the most comprehensive product portfolio on the market;
  • Leveraging joint technological development to enhance existing products and rapidly develop new ones; and
  • Reducing their carbon footprint through optimized logistics.

Through this merger, the new entity will enjoy global industrial coverage via three coating sites, one in each of its regions (Americas, Asia and Europe), and nearly 20 slitting sites.

ARMOR purchased IIMAK from its controlling shareholder ACON Investments, L.L.C. (“ACON”). Anjali Jolly, partner of ACON, commented, “We want to thank the management team of IIMAK under the leadership of CEO Doug Wagner for a great partnership during our three years of ownership. We wish ARMOR-IIMAK much future success.”

This deal has been conducted with support from PwC and JonesDay, also includes the Fluid Inks industrial activities of IIMAK but excludes their medical contract manufacturing business, iiMED. The financial terms of the transaction are confidential.

“I am absolutely delighted with this major acquisition, signaling a new dawn for the whole of ARMOR,” de Boisredon added. “It opens up new horizons throughout the Group, not only for ARMOR-IIMAK but for all other divisions.”

Xerox-Competitive Computing

Xerox continues to expand its IT services business by acquiring Competitive Computing (C2). C2 serves customers throughout New England and the United States and has been recognized as “Best of Business” for IT services in Vermont for the past two years.

Joanne Collins Smee, Xerox

“We’re focused on expanding the reach of Xerox IT services to offer our clients automation, digitization, and security to lower operating costs, increase reliability and improve productivity,” said Joanne Collins Smee, chief commercial, SMB and channels officer at Xerox. “C2’s capabilities and scale will help accelerate our growth, creating new avenues for us to support growth for small and medium-sized businesses.”

“We are thrilled to join the Xerox IT Services team. After serving Vermont, New England, and national clients for over 28 years, our company and team members are ideally positioned to contribute to the growth of Xerox IT Services,” said Marty Thieret, co-founder and CEO, Competitive Computing (C2). “Together with Xerox, we will broaden the portfolio of high value IT and business services for our expanding client base, offer tremendous employee growth opportunities, and continue investing in the Vermont community.”

This acquisition continues Xerox’s commitment to expanding its IT services business. Xerox acquired both ITEC Connect, a leader in IT services in the UK, and Digitex, an IT services provider in Canada, in March 2020.

The global IT services market is sized at $350-plus billion annually.


About Visual Edge Inc.
Visual Edge Inc. specializes in managed IT services and security, cloud computing, and print/copy solutions for businesses across the U.S. including remote office locations. We offer a full line of office technology and services including 24/7 remote monitoring and administration of networks, service desk, and data backup and restore to improve business processes across a variety of industries. Plus, Visual Edge represents the industry’s leading manufacturers of office technology allowing businesses to get equipment, supplies and service from a single source. Backed by more than 20‐years of technology service and a national network of expert engineers, Visual Edge is uniquely positioned to support business technology needs. The company is headquartered in North Canton, Ohio.

ARMOR specializes in the industrial formulation of inks and the coating of thin layers onto thin films. The Group is the global market leader in the design and manufacture of thermal transfer ribbons for printing variable traceability data on labels and flexible packaging. The European market leader in innovative and sustainable printing services and consumables, the Group is a pioneer in the development and production of industrial inks and innovative materials, such as organic solar films, coated collectors for electric batteries and bespoke filaments for additive manufacturing. With an international presence, ARMOR Group has nearly 2,450 employees in some 20 different countries.  In 2020 it posted annual revenue of €274m. Each year the group invests nearly €30m in industrial equipment and R&D. ARMOR is a responsible company committed to stimulating innovation within society.

About Xerox Holdings Corporation
For more than 100 years, Xerox has continually redefined the workplace experience. Harnessing our leadership position in office and production print technology, we’ve expanded into software and services to sustainably power today’s workforce. From the office to industrial environments, our differentiated business solutions and financial services are designed to make every day work better for clients — no matter where that work is being done. Today, Xerox scientists and engineers are continuing our legacy of innovation with disruptive technologies in digital transformation, augmented reality, robotic process automation, additive manufacturing, Industrial Internet of Things and cleantech.