Penton Media has made a significant play for the agricultural publishing market by buying Farm Progress Companies, based outside of Chicago, for $79.9 million.

The deal adds almost two-dozen brands to the six in Penton's agricultural group and, says the company, doubles the size of its business.

Farm Progress, owned by Australia-based Fairfax Media, publishes a combination of regionally-based agricultural titles, such as California Farmer and Michigan Farmer, as well as national titles like American Agriculturist. Other assets include its flagship event, the Farm Progress Show, and a television and radio broadcast division.

“Farm Progress is a high quality company—the team has delivered excellent organic revenue and EBITDA growth,” said Penton CEO David Kieselstein.  “Moreover, this business fits with Penton’s heightened focus on properties that have high levels of user engagement. The fact that Farm Progress events attract more than 200,000 attendees from across the agriculture community every year is a prime example of that value.”

Farm Progress's roots go back almost 200 years when American Farmer was first published in 1819.

Farm Progress, which will remain headquartered in St. Charles, Illinois, will be housed under Penton's Agricultural Group reporting to senior vice president Dan Bagan. Jeff Lapin, Farm Progress president, will leave the company at the end of the year.

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