DST pulls out of direct mail print to focus on data

dst 1DST Systems is hunting a buyer for its UK print and digital operations as part of plans to concentrate on its financial and healthcare divisions, as well as data business DST Applied Analytics.
The company revealed the strategy after announcing it has entered an agreement to sell its North American Customer Communications business to Broadridge Financial Solutions for $410m (£289m).
DST chairman and chief executive Steve Hooley said the decision to “exit the customer communications business” was “an important step in executing our well-defined strategy of focus and growth within our financial and healthcare services segments”.
He added: “We are confident that this is the right time to obtain the full value of the customer communications businesses on behalf of our shareholders.”
DST UK – formerly DST Output – is the largest direct mail printer in the country, recently posting sales of £164.8m and a pre-tax profit £1.8m.
The UK data division, DST Applied Analytics, has been through a number of rebrands over the past few years.
It originally launched as Vertis DM, the data arm of print group Vertis, in the late Nineties but rebranded Data Lateral four years later. By 2007 it had become Lateral Group, until DST – which acquired the firm in 2011 – rebranded it the Global Insight Group (the GIG at DST) in 2014.
It was rebranded once more last year to become DST Applied Analytics. The business has been under the control of the print side of the group – and chief executive Jeremy Walters – since the departure of CEO Jason Cromack in December 2014.
In a statement, Walters said: “The DST Customer Communications UK business is successful, stable and profitable and over the last 2 years has seen an increase of 17% in the number of communications produced and mailed along with exceptional growth in digital delivery.
“We are one of the UK’s leading and innovative integrated communications providers across a broad number of industries/sectors, and one of a limited number of successful businesses in a tough market. We are confident in our future and will provide more details as we can.”
Speaking in response to speculation that DST Applied Analytics was also up for sale, managing director Ruaraidh Thomas said: “I can confirm that DST Applied Analytics is separate to DST Customer Communications and will remain in the DST International business.”

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