Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Goss Wins Suit; Will It Buy Heidelberg?

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Goss Wins Suit; Will It Buy Heidelberg?

Article excerpt

Meanwhile, fate of one of its biggest customers remains unknown

A jury handed Goss International a multimillion-dollar award last Wednesday in its lawsuit against Japan's Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, one week after Goss' interest in Heidelberger Druckmaschinen's web press business was again spotlighted by the German printing equipment giant's announced plans to divest its Web Systems unit.

And on Nov. 17, the same day Goss' federal-court suit went to trial, Canadian press lord Conrad Black agreed to step down as chief executive of Hollinger International, where an investment bank was retained to consider the fate of its assets. Among those are a half

interest in Europe's largest newspaper printer, England's West Ferry Printers, which Goss spokesman David Stamp called among his company's "top... two or three" customer sites worldwide. It also was to be the later and larger site installing Heidelberg presses to print Hollinger's Telegraph Group titles.

Significant for Heidelberg as its biggest newspaper sale -- and for the Daily Telegraph as the source of 80% of its one million weekday copies -- WestFerry never got its five Mainstream 80 presses, which were slated for installation nearly two years ago.

Though presses may be dedicated to certain titles, whatever re-equipping the Telegraph Group does, Express Newspapers "would be responsible for 50% of it," said an executive familiar with operations there. "That's the reason why the press installation was held up," the source added, insisting on anonymity. Led by pornographer and reported Labor Party contributor Richard Desmond, West Ferry co-owner Express not only is the conservative Telegraph Group's unlikely partner, but it also has contractual refusal on West Ferry, complicating the Telegraph's sale.

"Desmond made it clear he wasn't going to invest in any way, shape or form until he was happy" with the arrangement, said the same executive. With East London's much-appreciated property prices, some believe Desmond wishes to sell the Isle of Dogs plant and move printing to a less-costly location. For the approximately $250 million valuation given West Ferry by Britain's Mediaweek, a British media executive said, "I would think a lot of that resides in the land" because most of the equipment is old.

West Ferry has 18 Goss Headliner Offset presses, with some shaftless Colorliner tower additions. …

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