FOLIO:'s Top Deals of 2007.
BUYER: Incisive Media
SELLER: Wasserstein & Co.
PRICE: $630 million
DATE: July 2007
TAKEAWAY: If ALM and Incisive can avoid the typically frosty relationship that develops between U.S. publishers and British parent companies, this move could propel ALM into being one of the new b-to-b multimedia powerhouses both in the U.S. and abroad.
The March 2007 announcement by Wasserstein & Co. that it was finally putting New York City-based legal publisher ALM on the block set the M&A market buzzing.
The move came shortly after Wasserstein merged Prism Business Media with Penton Media in January 2007.
With more than $200 million in estimated revenue and $50 million in EBITDA, ALM had been a solid performer, even through the recession. The company published 34 national and regional magazines and expanded beyond the legal market with the acquisition of Real Estate Media in 2005.
A choice asset, the market expected ALM to command a premium. The eventual winner, London-based Incisive Media, had actually approached ALM back in 2000 for a potential acquisition which didnâ€™t happen.
The sale price for the company was on target with early estimates that had been downgraded from an initial $750 million asking price, sources say. Still, the deal was one of the largest b-to-b transactions in the last three years, placing it among an elite group including VNU/Nielsen ($10 billion), Advanstar ($1.1 billion), Hanley Wood ($650 million), Penton ($530 million) and Primedia Business ($385 million).
Incisive, a $280 million b-to-b media company serving the financial services, risk management and marketing services markets, was involved in a $550 million management buyout in late 2006, led by group chief executive Tim Weller and backed by private equity firm Apax Partners. Incisive has also been building a b-to-b juggernaut in Europe with the acquisition of VNUâ€™s b-to-b properties and is one of the front-runners to acquire Emapâ€™s b-to-b products. The company has also been ramping up its online offerings, including the acquisition of ClickZ Network and Search Engine Watch.
The ALM acquisition effectively doubled Incisiveâ€™s revenue and gave it a platform to expand its presence in the U.S. ALM management has remained in place so far, with ALM CEO Bill Pollak joining the Incisive board and overseeing the companyâ€™s legal publishing in the U.K. With solid print and event products in place, the emphasis will be to build out ALMâ€™s online and digital information offerings.
COMMENTS: â€śThis is a good fit for Incisive. The sale price is a bit below what ALM thought theyâ€™d get in the beginning by about $100 million but now they can take the products internationa l... Thatâ€™s going to give ALM the international expansion it needs. A ood strategic fit for a strategic buyer. ncisive is a good buyer."
OTHER TOP DEALS:
Ziff Davis Enterprise
Clarity Partners/Modern Luxury
Summit Business Media/Wicks Business Information