Wasserstein & Co.
In an age where private equity is having a profound impact on magazine M&A, Bagaria is heading up a group of well-performing media holdings for a particularly active PE firm.
As 2006 revealed, and as 2007 continues to illustrate, private equity is having an incredible impact on the magazine industry. And if there ever was a corporate face behind private equity in the magazine market over the last year, Wasserstein & Co. would be it.
Wasserstein has been involved in some of the most significant deals in the last ten years, beginning with the formation of American Lawyer Media (ALM) in 1997; for which Wasserstein, after holding on to the company for an uncharacteristic 10 years, is now seeking a possible sale, which reportedly may fetch $1 billion.
Wasserstein’s other holdings include The Deal LLC, launched in 1999; New York, acquired in 2004 and managed under a separate trust; a minority stake in Hanley Wood; and Prism, which Wasserstein bought in 2005 for $385 million and merged this year with Penton, after buying that company in late 2006 for $530 million and then selling half to MidOcean Partners.
The properties, excluding New York, are held under Equity Partners Funds I (fully committed) and II, with combined assets of $1 billion. Lumped together, the companies represent $600 million in approximate magazine-company revenues. Each of these companies has its own chief executive and they all report to Bagaria. “I am extremely involved with acquisitions as well as the strategic direction of where we’re taking acquisitions and any changes we need to make at them,” says Bagaria. “We partner with our CEOs and CFOs and senior management to decide the direction of the company.”
New York is expected to balloon its Web revenues to $9 million, illustrating one of Bagaria’s key strategies: “We think there are lots of opportunities for expanding the brands, whether doing more online or doing more in conferences” says Bagaria. “A lot of these publications, with the right capital structure, tend to be great cashflow generators, which obviously is extremely intriguing.”
Bagaria leads one of the biggest private-equity backed magazine groups in the country, with a combined $600 million in approximate yearly revenue.