Moo proving business etiquette still matters in digital age

LONDON (Reuters) – London-based Moo is doubling its sales every three years and proving that there is a place for a premium-priced business card printer in a digital age.

On Tuesday, the decade-old member of the city’s Silicon Roundabout tech scene posted 38 percent revenue growth for 2016 and a strengthened executive roster that includes a former chief financial officer for car-sharing pioneer ZipCar.

“In a society where our lives are becoming ever more connected online, the physical moments when we meet are becoming all the more precious,” Richard Moross, Moo’s founder and chief executive, said in an interview.

“Paper remains a very powerful marketing medium. It allows you to tell a story to people you meet.”

Fuelling its growth were sales to more than 20,000 small and medium-sized businesses employing at least 10 people. That category grew 55 percent for it during 2016.

Moo business cards allow customers to design highly personalized cards using their own photos on heavy paper stock printed with saturated inks. They are priced between $ 20 to $ 35 for a box of 50.

Moo Print Ltd reported revenue for 2016 of 75.1 million pounds ($ 99.5 million), according to a regulatory filing with UK Companies House.

Adjusted core profit last year rose to 4 million pounds from a loss of 1.0 million pounds in 2015. At a pre-tax level, losses were cut by more than half to 1.7 million pounds from 4.0 million pounds previously, the filing said.

Eighty-five percent of revenue for the company came from outside Britain, with two-thirds of sales in North America, Moross said. France, Germany and Australia are other sizeable markets. Moo has 500 employees at two UK locations and four in the United States.

During 2017, the company has bolstered its executive team by naming veteran City of London director Darren Shapland as chairman and Nick Ruotolo, the former European head of digital consumer printing leader VistaPrint, now a unit of Dutch company Cimpress, as chief operating officer.

This week, Moo named Ed Goldfinger, an experienced Boston tech executive as its new chief financial officer. He was previously CFO at security firm Veracode, Zipcar until it was acquired by Avis, and dot-com era web development firm Sapient.

Reporting by Eric Auchard; Editing by Keith Weir

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tech

Western Digital Wants to Block Toshiba’s $18 Billion Chip Sale

Western Digital said on Tuesday it will seek an injunction to block the sale of Toshiba’s prized semiconductor business to a rival group, upping the ante in an acrimonious battle with its chip venture partner.

The latest legal action by the U.S. firm, which jointly invests in Toshiba’s main chip plant, comes in the wake of the Japanese conglomerate’s decision last week to sell the unit to a consortium led by Bain Capital and South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix.

The $ 18 billion agreement with the Bain group is, however, still unsigned, with Toshiba telling its main banks this week that Apple (aapl), a member of the consortium and an important client, had yet to agree to key terms.

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Western Digital’s injunction is being sought with the International Court of Arbitration, where the California-based company, which argues no deal can be done without its consent, initiated proceedings against its partner earlier this year.

A panel of three arbitrators may be formed as early as this week and a decision on the injunction could come late this year before any deal closes, a source familiar with the matter said, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the mattter. A final ruling on the dispute is not expected before 2019.

The contentious auction has underscored how high the stakes are, as rival suitors, the Japanese government and Toshiba’s creditor banks all squabble over the world’s second biggest producer of NAND memory chips.

For Toshiba, a signed deal would come not a moment too soon as it needs to raise billions of dollars to cover liabilities arising from its now bankrupt U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse before the end of the financial year in March. If it fails to do that, it could be delisted.

Even if Toshiba manages to sign the deal with the Bain group imminently, it is still cutting it fine as regulatory reviews usually take at least six months.

STAKES HIGH

Western Digital said in a statement that Toshiba’s decision had been disappointing, given that it had made major concessions. These included giving up its participation in the consortium it was part of, leaving KKR & Co and a state-backed fund, the Innovation Network of Japan (INCJ), as the main investors. It also gave up on a plan to take a future equity stake.

It said it was vehemently opposed to a Bain deal, arguing that the inclusion of SK Hynix, a rival chipmaker, heightens the risk of technology leaks and introduces the risk that the deal may not clear regulatory reviews, unlike the KKR/INCJ bid which does not include a chipmaker.

Toshiba declined to comment.

Western Digital, one of world’s leading makers of hard disk drives, paid some $ 16 billion last year to acquire SanDisk, Toshiba’s chip joint venture partner since 2000. It sees chips as a key pillar of growth and is desperate to keep the business out of the hands of rival chipmakers.

Just last week, Western Digital (wdc) filed a fresh arbitration request seeking to stop Toshiba from investing in a new chip facility in Yokkaichi, Japan, unless SanDisk was also allowed to invest.

Toshiba (tosbf) said in August it decided to invest in the new line without Western Digital as they “failed to reach agreement” on joint investment.

Western Digital previously sought an injunction from a California state court to block any sale of the chip unit without its consent. The court ordered Toshiba in July to give Western Digital two weeks’ notice before any deal is closed.

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