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Xpress yourself: Quark sold to M&A outfit

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Desktop publishing software maker Quark has been acquired by Platinum Equity for an undisclosed sum.

The Denver, Colorado-based vendor, whose most popular product was QuarkXpress back in the mid-'90s, was bought by the Ebrahimi family in 2000 from the company's founder Tim Gill, according to MacWorld.

In contrast to recent trendy software companies such as LinkedIn and Groupon, Quark never sought an IPO, instead remaining a privately held outfit since it was created in 1981 primarily aiming its products at designers running Apple Macs – the original fanbois.

QuarkXpress landed in 1987, but its popularity only sprouted between 1990 and 1997, when it became, according to Quark anyway, "the world's most widely used professional page-layout software" used by publishers.

It first went "collaborative" way back in 1992 with the launch of the Quark Publishing System, by combining client and server-based publishing software to allow designers, writers and editors to connect workflows.

Raymond Schiavone has been at the helm of the company since 2006.

Arguably, Adobe's rival DTP package InDesign has put a dent in Quark's previous prowess among designers.

Ironically, Quark once bid to buy Adobe, which even in 1998 was a much a bigger firm than the QuarkXpress maker. That merger plan was quickly ditched, after hostility from the company's userbase and a general consensus that such a buyout simply wasn't credible.

Fast-forward 13 years, and Quark has now been scraped under the wing of Platinum Equity – an LA-based Merger & Acquisitions firm.

“Quark is committed to its loyal and dedicated userbase and we are enthusiastic about the company's new products which are gaining traction and generating positive reviews," said Platinum Equity's partner Brian Wall.

"We believe that with their expertise and innovative software, Quark has the potential to revolutionise publishing again.”

Indeed, like many software players, Quark has been working on products that are compatible with e-readers, tablets and mobile gizmos including Apple's iPad.

So a renewed hunt for fanboi-love might again be on the cards for Quark.

With its new suitor, Quark is also soon to be on the look-out for new companies to expand its current portfolio. ®

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