Bet on It: Wicks to Sell Daily Racing Form for $200M
The Daily Racing Form;"America’s Turf Authority Since 1894" that was once sold by News Corp. to Primedia for $180 million, only to be sold by Primedia for $40 million seven years later;has been sold by the Wicks Group to Arlington Capital Partners for close to $200 million, according to a source with knowledge of the deal. Wicks bought the paper in 2004 for a reported $60 million.
Calls to Wicks and the Daily Racing Form were not immediately returned.
113 Years of Winners (And Losers) The Form, something of a Bible for horse racing enthusiasts;and, of course, gamblers;was launched in 1894 by Frank Brunell as a four-page broadsheet and has seen a slew of owners in its 113-year-trip. For 66 years (1922-1988) it was owned by Walter Annenberg’s Triangle Publications before Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bought Triangle. News Corp. sold the paper in 1991 for $180 million to then-KIII Communications for $180 million. Primedia invested $35 million to modernize and streamline the production of the paper, only to sell it to Alpine Capital and longtime racing journalist Steven Crist for $40 million in 1988.
Bidding for the paper was "hot" in June, according to TheDeal.com, with private equity firms Quadrangle Group and Falconhead Capital included among its suitors. The company currently publishes 30 regional editions of the Form, distributed at racing venues and over 7,500 retail outlets, with an annual circulation of more than 13 million. The Form now boasts a robust Web site, choc-full of the kind of data only a fantasy baseball player could appreciate: breeder, trainer and jockey statistics ("Trainer Watch!"), purse indexes, track reports, live odds and, yes, a blog. The Form’s EBITDA is $21 million, according to a source with knowledge of the company’s financials.