Bendon, Inc., has acquired Dalmatian Press, LLC, from Anderson Press Ltd. The merger creates a value-publishing giant that will ship 200 million coloring, activity, story, board, educational, and other books per year, effectively doubling Bendon’s size. The purchase includes Dalmatian’s Piggy Toes Press and Intervisual Books subsidiaries.

“This acquisition will give us the scale to offer our retail partners, and consequently our consumers, a better value,” said Ben Ferguson, president and CEO of the combined company, which will operate under the Bendon name and remain headquartered in Ashland, Ohio. “We’ve watched Dalmatian for several years and have been impressed with their creative abilities, their licensing portfolio, and their overall sales and marketing expertise. Dalmatian and Bendon have shared many of the same goals, and we’re happy to be bringing them into the Bendon family.”

The two companies hold rights to many of the same licensed properties, but Ferguson said there’s little cannibalization since they are authorized for different and complementary formats. “We’ll still be working with the same manufacturers, licensors, and retail partners, just more broadly,” he added.

The new company – owned by the Wicks Group of Companies and Bendon management – will have close to 85 employees, with Dalmatian’s Franklin, Tenn., office remaining open and the staff staying on board. Dalmatian’s president, Rich Hilicki, will leave the company after assisting during the transition period.

The Bendon-Dalmatian merger continues the ongoing consolidation in the coloring and activity segment. In the most recent example, Kappa Books acquired Modern Publishing in January 2012.