First-round Bids for Highline Media Recap Received Last Week
Folio: has learned that non-binding expressions of interest in Highline Media, which is looking for new private equity backing, were due to BMO Capital Markets this past Friday. BMO, which is handling Highline’s search for new investors, had provided term sheets for staple financing, but bidders were not required to utilize it. A source familiar with the deal said "BMO is running a very professional process. For a recap, the book was comprehensive and characterized the company’s numbers in a very favorable light."
Although sources said last week that almost 3-year-old Highline is on the block, one source says Highline’s private equity backer, Spire Capital is simply looking for someone to step in and take its place, making the move a recapitalization, rather than a sale. "Basically, Spire is to coming to the point where it needs some liquidity," the source said.
And some say Highline CEO Andrew L. Goodenough, who has made numerous acquisitions during the company’s short existence and is looking to make more, has simply outgrown Spire’s resources. "Andy wanted a recap because he felt he needed someone that could make a significant investment in the company over the next five years."
Highline Media was formed in October 2003 to acquire The National Underwriter Company, a publisher and reference provider to the insurance and financial industries. Magazine brands include the National Underwriter Property/Casualty and Life/Health weeklies, Claims, Tech Decisions, Insurance Advocate and Florida Underwriter; the reference tools TaxFacts and Fire, Casualty and Surety Bulletins, along with 150 other books and electronic products, and three conference events.
In addition to the backing of Spire Capital, a private equity firm whose current fund is making investments totaling $260 million, Highline is also backed by the banks Harris Nesbitt and Brown Brothers Harriman.
In May 2004, the company added insurance and banking data assets, including regulatory, M&A and publicly traded data, from The Thomson Corporation. In the fall of 2005, Highline acquired Wealth Manager magazine from Bloomberg and Research and Futures magazines from Adams Business Media. The company’s revenues now exceed $50 million and 250 employees.
In April of this year, Highline’s The National Underwriter Company announced the acquisition of the assets of The Conference Group, Ltd., an executive-level conference organizer for the insurance industry. The Conference Group Ltd.’s conferences, including The 18th Annual Executive Conference for Property-Casualty Insurance Industry and The 17th Annual Executive Conference for the Life Insurance Industry, will become part of NUCO’s Insurance Conference Division.