Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: TYPE), a leading global provider of text imaging solutions, today announced it has acquired Ascender Corp., a privately held font provider with long-standing relationships with several leading brands including Google and Microsoft, for $10.2 million in cash and stock, net of acquired assets. The acquisition enables Monotype Imaging to broaden its font intellectual property offerings and gain significant typeface design and development talent.
Founded in 2003 by font experts who’ve been involved in producing some of the most widely used fonts in the world, Ascender specializes in typeface design, development and licensing. Ascender fonts, like Monotype Imaging fonts, can be found everywhere that digital text empowers communication, from branded communications for print and the Web to consumer electronics devices and software products.
Examples of typefaces designed by Ascender include the Droid user interface fonts for the Android mobile platform and the Segoe WP fonts that are core to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. Ascender has also created many custom fonts for worldwide brand identities of Fortune 500 companies. Prior to Ascender, employees designed or worked on such prominent projects as the first TrueType fonts ever to ship with Windows and Apple operating systems, as well as user interface fonts for Windows and each generation of the Xbox video game console.
“Ascender is passionate about type and understands its power to secure brand trust, engage everyday communication and enhance creativity,” said Doug Shaw, president and chief executive officer at Monotype Imaging. “We’re excited to have Ascender on board, which reinforces our commitment to offer the world’s best font solutions. Ascender brings to Monotype Imaging vast industry and design experience, well established customer relationships and the ability to solve challenging technical problems. Uniting our strengths will enhance our ability to grow our business and combine technology with design to help the world communicate.”
“We look forward to adding our artistry, craftsmanship and technical expertise to the team at Monotype Imaging — skills that are at the heart of the company’s history and remain true today,” said Ira Mirochnick, president of Ascender. “Together we’ll be able to provide unparalleled solutions for next-generation products, brands and technologies.”
A wide range of font offerings from Ascender will be integrated into Monotype Imaging’s product and service portfolio. The Ascender Originals typeface library joins the Monotype, Linotype and ITC collections as the newest member of Monotype Imaging’s premier font libraries. Other Ascender offerings include custom design services, Microsoft fonts, multilingual Unicode fonts, type engineered for on-screen reading, fonts for brand identity and various font licensing solutions. Ascender’s e-commerce stores include AscenderFonts.com, which offers thousands of high-quality TrueType and OpenType fonts for design professionals; FontMarketplace.com, which targets creative enthusiasts using Microsoft Office and other applications; and Ascender’s FontsLive subscription service, which allows designers to use high-quality Web fonts for Web page design.
Lee Aldridge, global brand officer at Young & Rubicam Brands, said, “Our close relationship with Ascender has clearly raised the typographic quality of our work. We are inspired by Ascender’s outright passion for type. Now mention ‘Monotype Imaging’ and it’s a special opportunity — you have a name with recognition in a much greater sphere. Combining Ascender with the historical depth and craft of Monotype Imaging’s font brands will result in products and services that deliver even greater quality and appeal.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Monotype Imaging acquired Ascender Corp. for $10.2 million, net of acquired assets. The purchase price included $7.0 million in cash and $3.2 million in stock. Acquired assets are valued at approximately $350,000. Monotype Imaging management anticipates the impact of the acquisition to be immaterial to the company’s fourth quarter 2010 financial results. For the full year 2011, Monotype Imaging currently expects the acquisition to add approximately $4.0 to $5.0 million in revenue, $500,000 to $1.0 million in net adjusted EBITDA and to be neutral to $0.01 accretive to GAAP diluted earnings per share.
“Ascender is a great fit for Monotype Imaging,” said Scott Landers, senior vice president and chief financial officer. “The acquisition meets key criteria for growing our business, including extending our intellectual property and expertise, while adding key customer relationships, especially in our Display Imaging business.”
All 12 Ascender employees are joining Monotype Imaging, with most working from Ascender’s headquarters near Chicago. In his new role as Monotype Imaging’s vice president and general manager of Display Imaging, Ira Mirochnick will report to John Seguin, executive vice president. Mirochnick brings more than 20 years of experience in building and running successful font-related businesses.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including those related to expected growth from Monotype Imaging’s offerings to the manufacturers of consumer electronics devices, that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause the company’s actual results to differ materially. Factors that might cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to: risks associated with changes in the economic climate and risks associated with the company’s ability to integrate the acquisition of Ascender. Additional disclosure regarding these and other risks faced by the company is available in the company’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risk factors included in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009 and subsequent filings. The financial information set forth in this press release reflects estimates based on information available at this time. While Monotype Imaging may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so, even if an estimate changes.