His triage efforts turned 101communications from dot-com disaster into new media player on the verge of a major sale.
It’s Klein’s commitment to the "new style" of b-to-b publishing that has helped revive 101communications and put it on the verge of a successful sale from owner The Fronteanac Co. to a new investor.
Klein joined 101 as COO in 1999. In 2001, the "perfect storm" of the dot-com crash, cutbacks on tech spending and 9/11 hit 101 and other tech publishers. 101 sank into a free-fall in which some of its properties saw 40 percent and 50 percent drops in revenue month-in and month-out.
Klein took over as CEO in January 2002 tasked with growing the company in a stagnant market. He developed a new focus on e-products, launching more than 35 in a few years, adding infrastructure and necessary staff, while making sure ad sales teams were selling integrated packages. Several print properties restructured both content and circulation. Revenue at Campus Technology grew more than 33 percent to just under $5 million.
Today 101 publishes 11 magazines with 44 conferences and events. Klein thinks the company could be twice its current size, even if it stays focused on the IT space. "We’ve executed a turnaround since 2002 and we think we’re now in a high-growth stage," he says.
101 lost $7 million in 2001 but was back in the black by 2002. Between 2002 and 2005, EBITDA increased at a 25 percent compounded annual rate. Overall revenues were up 10 percent to over $50 million in 2005. E-products now account for 17 percent of overall revenue.
101 expected a sale to close by the end of 2005. That deadline passed and rumors circulated that the lead buyer wanted to renegotiate. However, Klein is confident that a deal will be closing soon.
VITAL STATS: 101 went from losing $7 million in 2001 to jumping 10 percent in revenue and 49 percent in EBITDA in 2005.