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Advantage Business Media Sold to PE Firm

Publisher had been active in acquisitions in lead-up to sale.



Michael Rondon By Michael Rondon
02/13/2014

Advantage Business Media is being sold to the Owner Resource Group, an Austin-based private-equity firm, according to a release.

The seller, Catalyst Investors, did not disclose terms of the deal. It had held ABM since buying it from Reed Elsevier in 2006‚ÄĒa long hold for private equity.

"The [ABM] team effectively navigated through the financial downturn and the business was able to succeed by transitioning from print-centric to digital. When Catalyst originally invested in the company, ABM's digital revenue was about 11 percent of total revenue and now it is nearly 50 percent," says Gene Wolfson, partner with Catalyst Investors, in a statement. "We believe ORG will help [ABM] continue its digital evolution and find new opportunities to grow the business."

ABM's growth has come both organically and through acquisitions. The company made a small, strategic buy in mid-2011, followed up by the purchase of Vicon Publishing in early 2012. A year later, they quietly acquired eMedia Vitals, and named Prescott Shibles to its executive team.

ABM is currently without a CEO however. Former CEO, Richard Reiff, left in March, according to a spokesperson.

Catalyst also holds an undisclosed stake in F+W Media, an enthusiast publisher in more than 20 vertical markets, according to its website.

Fit With New Ownership

ORG has been busy‚ÄĒthe ABM deal was it's second major investment in the last six weeks. The firm purchased a majority stake in CHEM Group Holdings, a tech-based chemical producer, on Dec. 31.

That investment was more in line with the company's stated goals however. Founded in 2008, the ABM purchase appears to be one of ORG's first entrances into media.

"We are broadly invested but do have a preference toward certain industries," its website says. "These tend to be engineering-intensive manufacturing, service-supported distribution and niche service companies."

Some of ABM's market verticals-namely, manufacturing-seem to fit that profile, however.

ORG says it typically invests in companies with more than $15 million in revenue that "exhibit long-term growth prospects."

Michael Rondon By Michael Rondon
02/13/2014







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