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ALM Up for Sale

Price could top $500 million.

Michael Rondon By Michael Rondon

ALM Media is up for sale and could go for more than $500 million, according to a report from Reuters.

The b-to-b media company serving the legal and real estate industries is owned by private equity firm, Apax Partners. The bidding process will begin this week.

ALM declined to comment.

With a new community-focused CMS licensed from Forbes and a host of redesigned websites, the company has been investing heavily in technology recently. Staff cuts have come along with the changes though—ALM eliminated 35 positions in editorial and production last summer.

ALM currently generates about $55 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) and is seeking a purchase price of about 10-times that, the Reuters report notes. Average prices for similar properties have been between 8 and 10 times EBITDA recently, according to investment advisory firm, Berkery Noyes.

Bloomberg, Reed Elsevier and Thomson Reuters have each bolstered their legal news and analysis portfolios with acquisitions in the recent past, but Reed Phillips, CEO and managing partner of media M&A advisor, desilva+phillips, believes ALM is a different entity.

"I don't think the strategic [buyers] in the legal space will be interested," he says. "ALM is more a media company than an information services business so the fit is not good. But within media, ALM is the clear market leader in publications, events [and] marketing services."

"It most likely will be sold to a private equity sponsor," Phillips adds.

Apax-owned Incisive Media bought ALM (then American Lawyer Media) for $630 million in 2007. Apex then separated the two properties in 2009, establishing ALM as its own independent company.

Michael Rondon By Michael Rondon

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