Quark Bought by Private Equity Investment Firm

Platinum Equity announced Tuesday that it has acquired Quark, the venerable and once-powerful developer of its self-titled QuarkXpress layout and publishing software. Planet Equity is a private investment company with a track record of acquiring a company and then investing capital and resources to further develop that company.

Quark CEO Raymond Schiavone told PlanetQuark that his company would continue to be based on Denver, CO, and that he believed operations at the company would continue as they had been.

“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,” Mr. Schiavone said in a statement. “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.”

Quark’s history is a long one, having been founded in 1981 by Tim Gill and Mark Pope, both of whom had sold their interest in the privately held company by 2000. In 1999, then-CEO Farhad “Fred” Ebrahimi famously dismissed the Mac platform as a dying platform, and his company failed to support Mac OS X for several years, resulting in Adobe being able to swoop in with InDesign and scoop up a big portion of Quark’s Mac market share.

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Ebrahim divided up his stake in Quark amongst his children in 2006, and Raymond Schiavone was named CEO in November of that year. At that time, Quark became more responsive to its customer base, especially its Mac user base. The company lowered its prices and started releasing new versions of QuarkXpress more frequently than it had.

The sale of the business to Planet Equity was undertaken by this newest generation of owners and managers at Quark, and Planet Equity itself is putting forth an aggressive face in positioning Quark for the future.

“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,” Brian Wall, the partner at Platinum who led the team pursuing the acquisition, said in a statement. “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.”

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