Ascend Media Sells Health Division to Intellisphere
Publisher has no plans for additional divestitures.
In what might be the company’s final planned divestiture, b-to-b publisher Ascend Media has sold its Princeton, NJ-based Ascend Health division to Intellisphere, publisher of the MD Net Guide journal series for physicians. The Ascend Health division is made up of five magazines including Pharmacy Times and AJMC.
“This is an excellent fit for Intellisphere,” DeSilva + Phillips managing partner Reed Phillips tells FOLIO:. DeSilva + Phillips brokered the acquisition, which closed late Thursday. “Intellisphere knows the markets and they’re growing quickly, and this is a way for them to become even larger. Intellisphere is a well-managed company and they know exactly what they want to do with the assets that they’re acquiring.”
“Intellisphere is an online player and they’re looking for a print position, and these are two strong books,” Ascend CEO Vicki Masseria says, in reference to Pharmacy Times and AJMC. Masseria declined to discuss the financial details of the deal but said the company was “very happy” with the multiple it received, and said the deal enables Ascend to “pay down some of our debt.”
The sale of its Health division is the latest in a series of foldings and divestitures at Overland Park, Kansas-based Ascend in the face of a difficult healthcare market. Last fall the publisher sold off its 17-title Professional Service Division. The company shut down three titles (Physicians Money Digest, Family Practice Recertification and Internal Medicine World Report), divested its four-title dental group and sold off Expo magazine to Red 7 Media, FOLIO:’s parent company.
In December, CEO Cam Bishop stepped down and was replaced by Masseria, who previously was CMPMedica group president.
In 2004, the company acquired Medical World Communications for $130 million, transforming it into a company of about $150 million. Today, after its divestures, the company’s revenues are closer to $60 million.
Ascend still has four divisions, which include Allied Health, Practice Builders, and its exhibitions and continuing medical education divisions. The publisher does not have plans to divest any more of its divisions, according to Masseria.
"We’re budgeting up in revenue in every one of our remaining divisions,” she says “This is a more refined portfolio that has a healthcare thread that flows throughout.”