R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. last week agreed to acquire Banta Corp. for about $1.3 billion in cash to gain sales to publishing, catalog and direct-marketing customers.

The deal – $36.50 a share after a special dividend of $16 a share already declared by Banta – has been unanimously approved by both companies' boards, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007.

Cenveo, a commercial printer based in Stamford, Conn., had bid for Banta in recent months, but last week said in a letter to Banta that it was withdrawing its cash offer for the company.

Chicago-based Donnelley, a provider of printing services, sees the acquisition adding to earnings in the first full year after the close of the deal, which remains subject to approval from regulators and shareholders.

Banta revealed plans to close plants and fire staff as part of a previously announced effort to reduce annual costs by $35 million. Banta, whose main business unit is printing, has a significant multicultural marketing unit that emphasizes print-centric multicultural marketing solutions.

R.R. Donnelley prints advertising inserts, financial reports, business forms, labels, magazines, telephone directories and textbooks. Its clients include Verizon Yellow Pages printing all Verizon Yellow Page Directories in North America, including Verizon's Spanish-language directories.

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