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M&A Scorecard | July 2008



By Jason Fell
07/01/2008

Despite the continued soft economy and questionable credit market, recent weeks have been sprinkled with a number of smaller, more niche-market deals. The bigger news was that Texas-based Austin Partners was said to be the majority buyer of Entrepreneur Media and that Cygnus Business Media is “exploring” its options, which could mean a potential sale.

June 2
Buyer: Interweave
Seller: Four arts magazines (Nielsen Business Media)
Sale Price: N/A
Multiple: est. 4x to 6x

The deal behind the deal: Interweave—a unit of Loveland, Colorado-based Aspire Media—acquired four arts-related magazines from Nielsen Business Media. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The deal included Nielsen’s American Artist, Drawing, Watercolor and Workshop. American Artist, a monthly, was launched in 1937 and has a 41,000 circulation. The other three magazines are quarterlies.

According to Aspire CEO Clay Hall, the magazines and their franchises are a “great expansion” on Interweave’s portfolio. “American Artist and its related publications fit like a glove with our mission and business strategy,” he said.

Interweave Press Publishing group includes 18 subscription magazines as well several special-interest newsstand titles and craft enthusiast events.

Our panel says: “Nielsen was a willing seller and wanted to get the deal done. This is a very strategic deal for Aspire and a good home for these assets.”


June 9

Buyer: Big Earth Publishing
Seller: Telluride
Sale Price: N/A
Multiple: N/A

The deal behind the deal:
Neenah, Wisconsin-based Big Earth Publishing expanded its newly-created magazine division with its acquisition of Telluride and its accompanying Telluride Visitor’s Guide.

Featuring health, environmental and sports content about its namesake Colorado mountain town, Telluride is the flagship of Telluride Publishing, which also produces several custom products.

The 25-year-old, twice-yearly has an annual circulation of 70,000. Big Earth publishes books in the culinary, history, environmental, biography and children’s categories, as well as enthusiast titles on fishing and gardening.

M.C. Alcamo & Co. represented Telluride in the deal. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Our panel says: “While this is a small deal, it’s nice to see Big Earth, which is otherwise known for publishing books, continue to expand into the magazine market. Earlier this year it acquired its first magazine, Women’s Adventure.”


June 10

Buyer: Haymarket Media
Seller:
Compliance Week (Financial Media Holdings Group)
Sale Price: N/A
Multiple: N/A

The deal behind the deal:
British media company Haymarket Media, the 50-year-old publisher of some 100 specialty titles, agreed to acquire Boston-based Financial Media Holdings Group’s Compliance Week e-newsletter. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A paid e-newsletter with a $999 annual subscription price, Compliance Week was founded in 2002 by Scott Cohen and Frank Hertz—two of the creators of Boston.com, the online home of the Boston Globe newspaper. In addition to the newsletter, the pair produces a paid monthly print magazine, live events including an annual conference, and a paid access Web site.

The deal is similar to the Financial Times’ acquisition of global money management industry online newsletter producer Money-Media earlier this year.

The Jordan, Edmiston Group represented Financial Media Holdings Group in the transaction. Haymarket’s publications include Management Today and FinanceAsia.

Our panel says: “This is a solid, small tuck-in deal for Haymarket. The deal fits its strategy of owning weekly media assets serving horizontal (i.e. PR, DM News) and vertical (Horticulture Week) served markets.”


June 12

Buyer: ESPN
Seller: Student Sports Inc.
Sale Price: N/A
Multiple: N/A

The deal behind the deal: In its continued effort to ramp up its high school sports product portfolio, ESPN has acquired Student Sports Inc., a high school-focused digital media and event production company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Late last year, ESPN acquired a high school sports and lifestyle group with a similar name, School Sports Inc., which published Rise. Last month, ESPN rebranded it as ESPN Rise and formed the ESPN Rise group, which also includes School Sports’ 300,000-circulation Girl and 100,000-circ Hardwood and Gridiron.

Assets included in the most recent deal are StudentSports.com, DyeStat.com and more than 160 events, like the Nike Combines/Nike SPARQ mini camps.

Our panel says: “This deal is pretty straightforward. It’s a small firm being gobbled up by a big guy with an obvious fit. This one was done by a ‘strategic’ which still has access to financing in this tough economy.”

By Jason Fell
07/01/2008







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