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Posted on Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

Edwards Brothers announces merger with Malloy in Ann Arbor area book printing deal

By Nathan Bomey


Edwards Brothers President John J. Edwards, shown here in a 2007 photo, leads a company founded 119 years ago.

File photo |

Two of the Ann Arbor area's biggest book printing companies are merging in a deal with major implications for the local job market and real estate sector.

Edwards Brothers Inc., a 119-year-old short-run book manufacturer with headquarters on South State Street in Ann Arbor, announced a merger with Scio Township-based Malloy Inc.

Edwards Brothers, which also has a major printing facility in North Carolina and several other smaller operations throughout the country, has about 400 employees at its 185,000-square-foot plant in Ann Arbor. The company, one of the Ann Arbor area's longest continuously operated businesses, had about $80 million in revenue in 2010.

Malloy, founded as Malloy Lithographing Inc. in 1960, has more than 200 employees at its 180,000-square-foot plant on Jackson Road. It traces its heritage back to 1948, when Jim Malloy left Edwards Brothers and launched Cushing-Malloy with Bert Cushing.

The new company, Edwards Brothers Malloy, which will have combined annual revenue of about $115 million, is expected to maintain those three plants.

Edwards Brothers President John J. Edwards will become CEO of the new company. Bill Upton, president of Malloy, will become vice president of operations, and Joe Upton, Malloy's vice president of sales and marketing, will hold the same role at the new company.

Edwards told the companies had been in negotiations for about six months. He said both companies were "mildly" profitable on their own.

"We realized we had to do something different and by combining our collective strengths we thought we were providing a better value proposition to our customer," he said. "Some of the strengths we have were their weaknesses and vice versa. And we thought by combining, we make a much more solid company."

Edwards said the new company is not planning any immediate job cuts, except the elimination of a few redundant senior management and sales positions. Collectively, the new company has about 900 employees.

The deal comes during a period of turbulence for local book printers. Both companies have reduced their workforce in recent years.

Book printers face a number of challenges, including the emergence of electronic books, devices that allow stores to print their own books, commodity costs and school districts that have clamped down on textbook spending.

About 12 percent of U.S. adults own an e-reader in 2012, up from 8.7 percent in 2011 and 5.4 percent in 2010, according to research by

Book printers are also directly affected by the loss of physical bookstores, including last year's liquidation of Ann Arbor-based Borders Group Inc. and the bankruptcy filing of NBC Acquisition Corp.'s Nebraska Book Co., which is considering closing four local college bookstores.

Malloy produces books for "publishers of all sizes, in all segments of the publishing industry, in all parts of the United States," according to its website.

Edwards Brothers has won several tax abatements from the city of Ann Arbor in recent years, including an abatement in 2010 to offset the costs of a $5.48 million equipment upgrade.

Edwards said book printers continue to experience "intense price pressure" and a shifting customer base.

"We’re doing more orders and they’re smaller, which makes sense. That doesn’t really scare us, but you have to do more orders to have the same sales," Edwards said.

He said there's little overlap in the client bases of Edwards Brothers, which has a strong presence in the digitally submitted book printing business, and Malloy, which has had success with e-book conversions.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


man on the inside

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 5:55 a.m.

This isn't a merger, its a buyout. Malloy is turning into a $hit hole just like edwards brothers has always been. Things will get worse octber 1st when paycuts go into effect.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

I agree with mk 100% They are cutting all of malloys employes pay cut of no more than 13.5%.. They are also changing benifits much higher out of pocket cost... Taking the profit away from malloy employes so they can get a cut and zero balance new carpet.... This is not a merge its a buy out.. This ship is sinking


Thu, Feb 9, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

I think Edwards Brothers is a highly respected, reputable company. Good for them for finding ways to expand and prosper!


Wed, Feb 8, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

First of all, Edwards Brothers isn't some money hungry business out to make a giant profit and screw over its employees as you guys are making it seem. 2009 is when the recession impacted the company the most. It did whatever it could to save as many employees as possible while still staying afloat, hence the wage cuts. Yes, there were wage cuts and that is terrible but it was either that or fire a large chunk of the workforce. And everyone suffered, the management took a hefty 20% wage cut as opposed to the 13.5% non management positions got. Since then this company has been doing everything in its power to get back on it's feet. And no they haven't been firing people since that is false. As to acquiring more facilities in canada and such, these are things that are going to benefit the company soon and for the long run. Shouldn't that be what the employee cares about? That the company is doing everything to ensure that they will still be around 10 years down the line? Because by expanding that is exactly what it is doing. The book industry is starting to hurt and it has an extremely low margin of profit. By growing in size the company can now get cheaper paper, handle more jobs with more customers and in large make a larger profit. And although the emoloyees may not be making what they were before....the profit sharing system helps some with the wage cuts. But no one mentions that when talking about the wage cuts. So stop making this company seem to be a company that doesn't care about its employees. This has been a family run business for a very long time and prides itself on being a close knit caring company.

Atticus F.

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

This is what you want isn't it? for people to stop cutting down trees to make paper.... Well you got your wish.


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Now they both survive.that's a good thing I GUESS.


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

This is inevitable. The article states, "About 12 percent of U.S. adults own an e-reader in 2012, up from 8.7 percent in 2011 and 5.4 percent in 2010, according to research by" That number is a lot higher when you consider that not all adults are readers. It's easier to obtain books electronically and publish books electronically. And, while some reading experiences are enhanced by holding a "real" book, I'd say that the reading experience for 90% of what one reads is just as good--or better--with an e-reader. Sadly, that doesn't bode well for companies like EB or Malloy.


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

The printing industry is under assualt and changing rapidly. When you throw in the paper making industry and the consolodation there as well, you are going to see a staggering amount of people out of work in this country. This will put the government further in a hole with unemployement debt. There aren't enough new tech jobs out there and many of these dogs are too old to learn new tricks. Anybody who thinks that there is big corporate profits being made has simply got there head in the sand. I don't have an answer, this is coming, like it or not for the book manufacturing industry. We need to bring what ever jobs we can back to this country and not outsource to India and the third world countries. This is survival time and a little protectionism could go a long way.


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

Many old time primate firms will not survive the coming consolidation. Those that do will unfortunately probably be a small handful of Chinese exporters. Paper is too expensive and the process toomcomplicated when you can download a digital encyclopedia in about 10 minutes...and update it regularly.


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

Errrr....of course I meant print firms....hehe Freudian slip?


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Many smaller companies are thriving by adjusting to shorter-run digital printing and other forms of distribution. With the reductions and pressures on the printing industry and since it appears these companies have been experiencing reductions in staff since 2007 or so, that is more than enough time for all those employees to spend some time learning new technologies. If they haven't, than I'm sure they will be replaced with workers that have.

Mike D.

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 2:22 a.m.

Consolidation in the book business? What's next, typewriter companies going under?


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

I've had a relationship with Edwards Brothers for almost a decade. I've worked there, have friends that still do and even family. And what MK says, while I don't know about profitability is true... they've done constant workforce reductions since 2008. I remember that I was a part of one. A few years back, even, in one meeting, they informed the entire plant that they were cutting wages by 10%... after everybody took a 3 1/5 % paycut a year earlier after the big layoff storm. John Edwards assured everybody that this wasn't permanent. During this time, EB has acquired new printing ventures overseas, in Canada, and even in the US setting up new digital print hot spots, and purchased more presses to increase his arsenal... all the while not giving back to his employees. It seems to me to be pretty crappy to go ahead and "Merge" (although anyone with a brain in his head knows that means "bought") with his competition, leaving the employees to continue to weather the storm of lower wages, worse benefits with a higher price tag, and a cost of living that decimates anybody living on an EB income... How much longer until they actually go through with "It's not permanent" and give back? A higher profit sharing percentage means nothing when profits aren't there!

Monica R-W

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Welcome to the World called 'Mergers in Corporate America'. In that World, the employees get the short end of the stick while the owners or highest stockholders (or Executive Board) receive a huge payday. Was a prior victim of the 'Corporate Merger' environment via Sprint-Nextel 'merger of equals' (as I type that now....I'm laughing at how stupid that sounded) of 2006. Was a Loyal Former Nextel employee. These 'mergers' are always messy for the employees and rarely end well. Edward Brothers and especially Malloy employees would do themselves a favor by placing their resume out on job boards now, because many of them will be laid-off in less than one year.

Marshall Applewhite

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

Well, I can't imagine the book business is exactly booming right now. If employees are unable to weather the storm of a changing digital landscape, they may want to see the eventual writing on the wall and gain the skills necessary to participate in a more cutting edge business.

John of Saline

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

"A higher profit sharing percentage means nothing when profits aren't there!" I think you just answered your own question, after a fashion.


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.

I feel like it's only a matter of time before everything goes digital. Books will go the way of home phones, where once technology reaches a certain level, the old way of doing things will be quickly phased out. Besides other kinks to be worked out, just having a vastly increased battery life would spell doom for printed word. Personally, I prefer newspapers and books. But realistically, when readers/other devices run elitely smooth, have extremely long battery life, and are half the price they are now... consumers of various classes having those powerful products in their hands for cheap will change everything. It's only a matter of time. My one question is how this will effect libraries eventually. I hope that conflict never happens in my life time, but I fear it will. It hurts my heart as a library junkie. :-)


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

Edwards Brothers cut workers pay last year and laid people off, nice to know they still were able to make a gigantic profit!


Wed, Feb 8, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Edwards Brothers didn't make any money merging with Malloy...the profits are going to come in the future because now they are a bigger company and can get their materials for cheaper. Everyone working there should be happy they still have a job, because many companies didn't care about their employees and just made the easy decision to cut workforce instead of cutting wages in order to keep employees. Good luck finding a job in this economy...Wage cuts suck until you think about it like that.


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

It is nice to know that both companies were mildly profitable in 2011. It's too bad that they were not wildly profitable in 2011. Without profits, Edwards Brothers would not be able to employ 400 people in their Ann Arbor facility. The Edwards and Uptons should be admired for having the courage to do what is necessary to become more efficient, and more valuable to their customers. Congratulations!


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

Where in this article did you read anything about either company making any profit from this deal?


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

I suspect that there will always be a desire for books. It's tough to read digital technology when there is no source of power.