Quark Purchased by Platinum Equity

Quark, Inc. has been purchased by Platinum Equity, a highly successful investment firm based in Los Angeles. How successful is Platinum Equity? The Los Angeles Business Journal lists them as the largest private company in the Los Angeles area, and Forbes named them the 31st largest private company in America. Their founder is Tom Gores, who is listed in Forbes top 500 billionaires in the world.

So now what?

The Wikipedia entry on Platinum Equity has this telling sentence: “After an acquisition, Platinum Equity often invests in additional businesses, equipment, people and facilities that give its holdings a stronger position for the long haul.”

I interpret this to mean that Platinum Equity will invest in Quark, possibly acquiring other companies or technologies to fill in the perceived gaps in Quark’s services.

I asked Quark’s CEO and President Ray Schiavone about the acquisition, and he said that Platinum Equity will be advising on the direction of the company, mainly regarding operations. When I asked about whether Platinum Equity has other properties that may be merged with Quark, he indicated that they had no other properties in this industry and he doesn’t foresee any mergers.

He added that Quark expects operations to continue largely as they are. They’ll remain in Denver, with the same people and products as before, only now with greater resources and opportunities.

The next few years should be an exciting time to be a Quark user!


Back in 1986, Farhad “Fred” Ebrahimi partnered with Quark’s founder and programming genius Tim Gill to grow Quark and ultimately position QuarkXPress as the dominant page layout program in the world. Tim sold his share of Quark to Fred in 2000, and Fred retired from his role as Quark’s CEO in February 2004. Current CEO Ray Schiavone took over as CEO in November 2006.

Quark’s press release is below.




Los Angeles, Calif. and Denver, Colo. (August 9, 2011)Platinum Equity announced today that it has acquired Quark, a provider of publishing software for professional designers and enterprise organizations.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Quark is a legendary brand that helped create the desktop publishing market and is now helping organizations transform how they publish content both to print and digital media,” said Brian Wall, partner at Platinum who led the team pursuing the acquisition. “Quark is committed to its loyal and dedicated user base and we are enthusiastic about the company’s new products which are gaining traction and generating positive reviews. We believe that with their expertise and innovative software, Quark has the potential to revolutionize publishing again.”

Based in Denver, Colo., Quark provides a set of software applications targeted at creative professionals and the enterprise dynamic publishing market. These tools are components in a value chain of software products that enable the creation, management, publication, and delivery of content across a variety of media including print, email, web, social media, and the next generation of e-reader, tablet and mobile devices such as the iPad.

“This transition comes at an exciting time for our company and our customers. In the past few years we have made great strides in helping our customers realize dynamic publishing, have re-invigorated QuarkXPress, and are ready to take an early leadership position in digital publishing,” said Raymond Schiavone, President and CEO at Quark. “Platinum Equity is well-positioned to help us continue to execute our dynamic publishing vision through their market reach, merger and acquisition experience, and operational support. This is the natural next step for Quark’s evolution.”

Mr. Wall said that Platinum Equity has already initiated a process focused on transitioning Quark to new ownership. The Platinum operations team is working together with the Quark management team to focus on Quark’s core markets and create an acquisition strategy focused on expanding the breadth and depth of Quark’s product capabilities and geographic coverage.

Quark customers with questions can email pr@quark.com.

About Quark

Quark Software Inc. (www.quark.com) is a leading provider of publishing software for professional designers, small and mid-sized businesses, and large organizations in more than 160 countries. Two decades ago, Quark’s flagship product — QuarkXPress — changed the course of traditional publishing. For more than 25 years, Quark has built on its knowledge and experience in design and publishing to provide software solutions that support collaborative workflows and automated publishing across multiple channels. Today, Quark is revolutionizing publishing again by setting new standards in XML-based publishing across print, the Web, and digital media, as well as by helping owners and employees of small and mid-sized businesses promote their products and services easily, professionally, and affordably. Denver-based Quark Inc. is privately held.

About Platinum Equity

Platinum Equity (www.platinumequity.com) is a global M&A&O® firm specializing in the merger, acquisition and operation of companies that provide services and solutions to customers in a broad range of business markets, including information technology, telecommunications, logistics, metals services, manufacturing and distribution. Since its founding in 1995 by Tom Gores, Platinum Equity has completed more than 115 acquisitions.

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.

13 thoughts on “Quark Purchased by Platinum Equity

  1. Cloudane

    *Latinum* Equity, surely…

  2. Jay Nelson

    Cloudane: “*Latinum* Equity, surely…”

    Me: Ha!! Quark, Latinum, Star Trek — I get it.
    I shall miss Quark’s bar at the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas (now deceased). I’ve spent my share of gold-pressed latinum there. :-)
    My favorite memory is of the Ferengi. While looking at the menu, our Ferengi waiter helpfully advised us that the numbers in the right column of the menu indicated the “nutritional value” of the item. It was the price, of course.
    Ah, those clever Ferengi .

  3. Jay Nelson

    Over at Macworld.com, Jackie Dove wrote an excellent article about the acquisition. Read it at http://www.macworld.com/article/161580/2011/08/quarksale.html.

    I noted this quote from veteran publishing industry observer Thad McIlroy: “This is agnostic capital—money in search of an opportunity, so it is a great endorsement of Quark and its approach, and of Quark’s future plans and longevity. This says to us that Quark’s going to be around for some time, that they’re going to be a player in the publishing tools space.”

    Well said, Thad!

  4. CarbonCopy

    You know what? This is just going to be a long, drawn-out death for quark. I predict that they will just be folded into someone else to be acquired at some point in the future.

    Why do I say this? As someone who has worked in design, publishing and printing for nearly a decade and a half, I know of no actively working designers or artists that actually USE QuarkXPress anymore. Not in at least five years. I have not purchased a copy (or used in nearly as much time) a copy XPress in almost a decade.

  5. CarbonCopy: I heard many statements like yours about Apple in the 1990s. Apple’s “long, drawn-out death” continues to this day. (BTW, yesterday Apple briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil as the most valuable company in America.)

  6. This worries me as Quark was a privately held company with go the way of Pagemaker, Freehand and the like. I have watched most of my clients bailing from Quark to Indesign over the past few years. Quark is/was the only standalone design program left that had any kind of foothold on the industry.

    Now we are at the mercy of Adobe, which is starting to become alot like Microsoft. Meaning that the software they produce doesn’t always work together nicely. Lately they have begun to double up on upgrades (ie, CS 5, CS 5.5). The upgrade charge is equal to a full version upgrade.

    I don’t believe that Apple was purchased by a another company. It has just remained in the background quietly creating the standards that we have all gotten use to.

  7. Smed: regarding “I don’t believe that Apple was purchased by another company. It has just remained in the background quietly creating the standards that we have all gotten use to.”

    I didn’t mean to imply that Apple was ever purchased. But for several years it was dismissed in ways similar to how CarbonCopy dismissed Quark. (“long, drawn-out death”)

  8. publisher

    i can’t imagine why any firm with any clue or visibility into the publishing/design world would invest in this failing business. however as noted they are astute investors, so it’s more than likely about IP or patents. We all know Quarks value as a cash generating business is next to nothing. I also don’t know of a single designer still using the product (and I am exposed to around 350 designers/publishers on a daily basis).

    Have a loot at Platinum Equity’s involvement in existing patent litigation cases and it would appear that’s exactly what this is about, they seem to be involved in a large number of cases – so that is most likely their angle here.

  9. Very good article. I am facing many of these issues as well..

    My webpage – screen recorder software

  10. This way, you can compare companies side by side without
    incurring any extra risk. In fact you may just adore the procedure
    of moving. They usually provide long distance mover provides services to
    the customer who wants it from them.

    Stop by my web-site: self storage units in brooklyn ny

Leave a Reply