Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes Inc.
Traded as NYSE: PBI
S&P 500 Component
Industry Business Services
Founded 1920
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Key people
Arthur Pitney, Founder
Walter Bowes, Founder
Marc B. Lautenbach, President and CEO
Michael Monahan, COO and CFO
Products Franking machines
Geolocation software
Mail sorters
CRM software
Location intelligence
Customer Information Management
eCommerce solutions
Revenue US$3.6 billion (2015)
Number of employees
14,800 (2015)[1]
Website www.pitneybowes.com
Former Pitney Bowes headquarters in Stamford

Pitney Bowes Inc. is an American provider of global eCommerce solutions, shipping and mailing products, location intelligence, customer engagement and customer information management solutions. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, the company has approximately 16,100 employees worldwide.[1] It is one of 87 existing firms that have been members of the S&P 500 since its creation in 1957.

Other major U.S. centers of operation include Danbury, Connecticut; Shelton, Connecticut; Troy, New York; and Lanham, Maryland.


In 1902, Arthur Pitney patented his first "double-locking" hand-cranked postage-stamping machine, and, with patent attorney Eugene A. Rummler, founded the Pitney Postal Machine Company. In 1908, English emigrant and founder of the Universal Stamping Machine Company Walter Bowes began providing stamp-canceling machines to the United States Postal Service. Bowes moved his operations to Stamford in 1917. A rapid increase in mail volume in 1919 made the Post Office more receptive to metered mail, and Pitney subsequently traveled to meet Bowes. On March 15, 1920, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing mechanical stamps on First-Class Mail, and on April 23, 1920, the two companies merged to form the Pitney Bowes Postage Meter Company, with the goal of producing a machine that would combine Pitney's "double-locking" counter with Bowes' system for wrapping postage payment, postmarking and cancellation. The United States Post Office approved their postage meter on August 25, 1920.

Between 1922 and 1923, the government collected $4,359,070 in postage from the first commercial installations of 400 meters. Pitney Bowes also began to sell their products internationally.

In 1938, Walter H. Wheeler, Jr. was named President and Chairman of the Board and would lead the company over the next three decades. In the 1940s, Wheeler boycotted a hotel when it refused to register one black salesperson, championing a spirit of diversity that still exists today, writing: "Pitney Bowes' worksites will reflect the communities in which we operate."[2] During the 1950s, The National Urban League recognized Pitney Bowes for its leadership in providing job opportunities to African Americans.

During World War II, Pitney-Bowes received an Army-Navy ‘E’ Award denoting excellence in production of crucially needed instruments of war (February 1, 1943).[3]

The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1950. Subsequently, Pitney Bowes was named to the S&P 500 when this benchmark index was created in 1957 and joined the Fortune 500 in 1962.

In 1968 Pitney Bowes acquired the Monarch Marking System Company, which would produce the first barcode equipment for retail trade use. To better provide financing options for their existing and prospective customers, the Pitney Bowes Credit Corporation was formed in 1976. (Pitney Bowes would continue to grow this line of business, launching the Pitney Bowes Bank in 1996.)

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the firm expanded, offering copy machines and facsimile machines, a suite of management services and entering new markets, such as Japan. During this period, Pitney Bowes acquired Dictaphone and kept the dictation machine manufacturer as a wholly owned but independent subsidiary until the unit was sold in 1995.[4]

In the 1990s, Pitney Bowes continued to innovate in the field of digital technologies and software, introducing the AddressRight address & barcode printer (1991), the first in-line weighing and metering system (1992), the first secure digital postage meter (1995), the first ink jet postage meter (1996) and the Digital Document Deliver (D3) platform (1998) which provides message management via hard copy, web, email and fax.

Since 2000, Pitney Bowes invested $2.5 billion in 83 acquisitions, primarily in software and services businesses including MapInfo, Group 1 Software, PSI Group and Imagitas. The Software Portfolio has been largely grouped into an operating division called Pitney Bowes Software.

In August 2013, the firm announced that it sold its world headquarters building in Stamford, CT (One Elmcroft Road)[5] but it would remain in the same city and move to 3001 Stamford Square (Summer Street). The relocation is expected to be complete by the summer of 2014.[6][7]

On October 1, 2013, Pitney Bowes sold its Management Services division (PBMS) to private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $400 million in cash, the proceeds of which would be principally to pay down debt.[8] PBMS has since been renamed Novitex Enterprise Solutions.[9]

On January 14, 2015, Pitney Bowes unveiled a new brand strategy and logo that supposedly better reflects the company's self-proclaimed role as "a technology company that powers billions of physical and digital transactions across the connected and borderless world of commerce." [10]

Research and technology

Pitney Bowes’ intellectual property portfolio includes more than 3,500 patents worldwide[11] in areas such as ticketing, cellular phone payment, shipping, laser printing, encryption and mail production and processing. The Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Association has consistently ranked Pitney Bowes in the top 200 companies receiving U.S. patents. Six of these patents are held by retired Executive Chairman Michael J. Critelli.

Significant acquisitions

Since 2000, Pitney Bowes has invested $2.5 billion in 83 acquisitions, primarily in software and services businesses.

Credit ratings and Revenue

In February 2012, the credit rating for Pitney Bowes International Holdings was lowered by Fitch Ratings from BBB+ to BBB. The ratings agency said its main concern was "the downward trajectory" of Pitney Bowes' revenue, and added that they have a "negative outlook."[15]

In March 2014, Moody's assigned a long-term rating of Baa2 to the company's proposed $350 million senior unsecured notes (due 2024) and reiterated their stable outlook on PBI. Moody's cited "an improvement in the company's operating margin to around 19%, from about 15% historically, following the sale of its labor intensive management services business" and "an operational restructuring which could yield annual cost savings of up to $170 million by 2016." [16]

In February 2016, Pitney Bowes announced that its full year 2015 revenue was $3.6b, a decline of 3% over the previous year.[17]


Further reading

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