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Kinko's, N.Y. Firm Sign Partnership

Business: The new investor will spend $200 million for a minority stake. The company will reorganize under one corporate entity.

June 11, 1996|MIGUEL HELFT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VENTURA — Kinko's, the Ventura-based global firm that got started in the back of a hamburger stand 25 years ago, has signed a partnership agreement that will allow it to continue expanding overseas and bolster its investments in communications and computing technology, company officials said Monday.

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a New York-based fund, has agreed to invest about $200 million to acquire a minority stake in Kinko's, officials said.

"This is a phenomenal event for our company," said Kinko's President Dan Fredrickson. "They [Clayton, Dubilier & Rice] bring very sophisticated financial expertise, which we currently don't have. The deal positions our company very well for the future."

As part of the agreement, Kinko's, which operates as 129 affiliated joint ventures, corporations and partnerships, plans to reorganize under one corporate entity.

"Our new corporate organization will make us better positioned to capitalize on the many exciting opportunities available to the company," said Paul Orfalea, who founded Kinko's in 1970. "With . . . this equity infusion, Kinko's will be in position to add new capabilities and expand into new markets, determine our store expansion plans based on system-wide opportunity and focus on strategic growth regions."

A long way from its humble origins, Kinko's is now a global retailer of document copying and business services, with about 840 stores and 23,000 employees in the U.S.

Additionally, Kinko's operates 17 stores in Canada, the Netherlands, Japan and Korea. The company plans to expand its operations in those countries and enter into new partnerships in Australia and the Far East, officials said.

The company has no plans to move out of its Stanley Avenue headquarters, where it employs about 500 people, officials said. Kinko's also employs about 100 in Oxnard.

Orfalea opened the first Kinko's in 1970 with a single black-and-white copier in a 100-square-foot facility near UC Santa Barbara. The company name came from the nickname given to him by college buddies because of his curly, reddish hair, according to a company history published on Kinko's Internet site.

Kinko's, which initially targeted customers on college campuses, now serves home offices and small businesses. Its services include color and black-and-white copying, on-site computer rentals, document binding and finishing, fax services, custom printing, specialty papers, passport photos and overnight mailing services.

In recent years, Kinko's has teamed up with Sprint to offer public retail videoconference rooms with 147 sites worldwide.

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice is a private investment firm that manages a capital of $1.5 billion on behalf of public and private pension funds, college endowments, private foundations, banks and insurance companies. Since its founding in 1978, the firm has invested in 23 businesses with aggregate annual sales of more than $17 billion.

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