Questex has sold the eight brands under its Industry and Specialty group in a pair of deals that transitioned six in a management buyout to new company North Coast Media, and two in a deal that closes later this week to RISI, an organization that tracks the forest product market.
North Coast Media was started by president and owner Kevin Stoltman, who was most recently vice president of the Industrial and Specialty Group. North Coast, backed by mix of angel and other capital, bought six magazines including Pit & Quarry, LP Gas, Pest Management Professional, Landscape Management, Golfdom and GPS World—along with related web sites and other assets.
The deal includes a transition services agreement that allows North Coast to get its offices set up as Questex continues to operate back-office functions during the next two months. All of the editorial, sales and other support staff will continue with North Coast.
Questex CEO Kerry Gumas declined to offer details on terms of the deal except to say that it was done in all cash, and says it allows the company to focus on core assets that have more growth potential across digital and events.
"We decided to concentrate on the verticals where we have scale and global presence," says Gumas. "Our business mix today is very heavily driven by our event business and then digital and other media that can provide lead-gen and information to these markets on a year-round basis. For us, that means a concentration along those markets where we think we have a clear path to build further."
To illustrate that point, Gumas notes that in 2005 Questex revenues were 70 percent print and 30 percent digital. Now, events and digital account for 85 percent of revenues and print 15 percent.
The remaining two brands under the Industrial and Speciality Group, Official Board Markets and Paperboard Packaging, were picked up by RISI in a separate deal, says a source with knowledge of the transaction. That deal is expected to close by the end of the week.