The chairman of the newly formed Summit Business Media says plans include building the newly combined companies into a $300 million to $500 million venture.
Highline Media CEO Andrew Goodenough and Pfingsten Publishing president Joseph Bennett will continue to run their respective companies, which were acquired earlier this month by Wind Point Partners of Chicago and combined into a single publishing company called Summit Business Media. Summit chairman Bill Reilly said in an interview last week that both Goodenough and Bennett are “invested” in the company as well.
He said plans for Summit call for growing the combined revenues of the two companies, which are currently between $90 million and $100 million, to between $300 million to $500 million over the next several years. The growth would be organic and from acquisitions, Reilly said. “It’s not going to be a giant company, but it’s going to be a big build-up and I’m really excited about it,” he said. “This is a 21st Century company with a good balance between print, tradeshows, conferences and seminars, and electronic. It’s your classic affinity company.”
Reilly, a founder of Primedia and the former chairman of F+W Publications, said the two companies fit together well with complementary, but not redundant, assets in the financial and insurance industries. Highline’s titles include National Underwriter, Property/Casualty, Life/Health, Claims, Florida Underwriter, Wealth Manager and Research and Futures, while Pfingsten’s publishing properties include Life Insurance Selling, Mortgage Originator, Progressive Distributor, and MRO Today
He said the combination of the two companies gives Summit about 40 to 50 percent of the market share in the finance management industry and about a 75 percent share of the insurance industry. “The insurance industry is a great industry to be in,” he said. “It’s regulated by the state. There are legal and data requirements that agents are required to keep up on for training. It’s really an El Dorado market for information providers.”
If there is a dark horse in the Pfingsten/Highline merger, it would appear to be Pfingsten’s art group, which publishes DECOR, Art Business News, Framing Monthly and Volume magazines, produces six art shows and a variety of other educational, electronic and ancillary products. “It is kind of interesting to be in the art market,” said Reilly. “But, at the same time, the art shows are very popular so we’ll see what develops.”
Reilly has spent the majority of his career working in consumer media, but he signed a non-compete clause with Abry Partners when it purchased F+W, which has placed him front and center in the b-to-b sector. Reilly, who has some experience in b-to-b from his tenure at Primedia, said he doesn’t mind the change of pace. “B-to-b is easier,” he said. “You don’t have the newsstand and subscription problems to deal with. And it’s easier to develop into electronic formats when you’re focused on one particular industry.”