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Digital Technology, acquired by equity firm, plans to cast wide net

N&T Staff Report

Digital Technology International, which last month was acquired by private equity firm Riverside Co., will be on the lookout to buy related and rival companies, according to a top Riverside exec.

Steward Kohl, Riverside’s co-chief executive officer, said expanding DTI’s imprint would be among the investor’s top goals. “We see lots of opportunities,” he told Newspapers & Technology. “There is lots of organic growth and we also expect to grow by acquiring related and competing companies.”

Financial details weren’t released; Riverside said several DTI executives participated in the transaction as equity partners.

DTI, a unit of privately held Oldham Associates LLC, said it was approached by Riverside earlier this year, about the time Oldham family members decided to split DTI from a sister printing company, Liberty Press.

“They view us as a platform company that will permit future acquisitions and take our vision further,” said DTI Marketing Director Alyson O. Williams of the Riverside purchase.

No changes will be made to DTI’s top personnel or offices, although the company is seeking to fill about a dozen spots to support its growing business, Williams said. DTI, based in Springville, Utah, also has offices in Germany, the United Kingdom, Latin America and Scandinavia.


No changes

Don Oldham, who founded DTI in 1981, said, “We are happy to partner with Riverside, a firm that believes in and supports our mission to continue innovating and developing the best publishing software products to meet our customers’ needs.”


Oldham will retain his position as will Geoff Walker, vice president, finance and chief financial officer; and Jeff Carpenter, vice president of operations and chief operating officer. Levor Oldham, vice chairman, is retiring from the company.

Three managers were also promoted as part of the acquisition: Byron Oldham, to vice president of product development; Ed Hubbard, to vice president, sales; and David Oldham, to a newly created position of vice president of marketing and product management.

DTI has its front-end software in place in more than 125 locations worldwide, including the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Des Moines (Iowa) Register. In April, Cox Newspapers Inc. said it would roll out DTI’s new WebSpeed content management app at all of its 17 daily newspapers.


Solid base

That solid base, in combination with the growing number of electronic publishing apps DTI has developed, appealed to Riverside, Kohl said.

“(DTI) is a leader in its niche and based on feedback from users, (its software) is second to none,” he said. “Their apps help newspapers become more successful and more profitable, and we also like that their products serve both the print and electronic side of the house.”

New York and Cleveland-based Riverside claims it’s the largest private equity firm focused on the smaller end of the middle market.

The DTI acquisition is Riverside’s first “pure” software investment and its second investment in the newspaper industry. In 1995, Riverside acquired the South Florida Newspaper Network, a group of weeklies. It subsequently sold the papers to the Tribune Co. in 1998.