M&A Scorecard | August 2008
The dog days of summer are here and the magazine M&A market has been relatively quiet, save for a small handful of deals around the mid-July mark. As of press time, industry observers continued to watch the potential sale of Cygnus Business Media and to track the ongoing sale process of Reed Business Information.
Buyer: Guardian News & Media
Sale Price: N/A
The deal behind the deal: ContentNext, the Santa Monica, California-based publisher of digital media news site paidContent.org, was acquired by U.K.-based Guardian News & Media, which publishes the Guardian and Observer newspapers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In addition to paidContent.org, ContentNext’s products include paidContent:UK, mobile-focused mocoNews.net and contentSutra, a site covering India’s digital content market. Founder, publisher and editor Rafat Ali, along with recently-appointed CEO Nathan Richardson, will continue to run the company as a standalone business.
“I did not start this company six years ago to flip it,” Ali said. “We’re in this for the long term.”
ContentNext was in a financing process when it was contacted, unsolicited, by GNM about an acquisition, Ali told FOLIO:. The sale process took about three weeks.
Our panel says: “It certainly makes sense that the Guardian was the buyer, for two reasons. First, they are looking to expand into the U.S. and Rafat will be able to introduce them to just about anyone in media and the Internet. Secondly, the value of the pound versus the dollar makes the acquisition look cheaper to the Guardian than it would to others.”
Buyer: Summit Business Media
Seller: WiesnerMedia (Financial Group)
Sale Price: N/A
The deal behind the deal: Summit Business Media acquired WiesnerMedia’s Denver-based Financial Group, which publishes Senior Market Advisor, Boomer Market Advisor, Benefits Selling and Bank Advisor.
The deal marks Summit’s seventh acquisition since it was founded about 20 months ago and was funded by capital from refinancing the b-to-b publisher did before the credit crunch, according to president Andy Goodenough.
The transaction includes WisenerMedia’s insurance agent site ProducersWeb.com; Advisors Data Source, a database with two million contacts; and the Benefits Selling Expo and Senior Market Advisor Expo events. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Annual revenues at the Financial Group are about $20 million.
Our panel says: “Summit is taking advantage of the challenging conditions of the financial industry to strengthen their business at attractive valuations.”
Buyer: Vance Publishing
Seller: Integrated Management Information (CattleNewtwork.com and CattleStore.com)
Sale Price: N/A
The deal behind the deal: In an expansion of its farm and ranch industry coverage, Vance Publishing has acquired CattleNetwork.com and CattleStore.com from Colorado-based Integrated Management Information. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Through our Drovers brand—magazine, Web site and e-letters—we reach the top 100,000 cattle operations in the country,” Vance president and COO Peggy Walker wrote in an e-mail to FOLIO:. “CattleNetwork and CattleStore enable us to offer marketers reach into the hundreds of thousands of smaller cattle operations which buy a significant amount of the products and services sold in this industry.”
The two sites will join Vance’s Food360 group, which includes the Drovers, Dairy Herd Management, Bovine Veterinarian and Pork brands.
Our panel says: “It’s understandable why these sites were attractive to Vance. This is a strategic, tuck-in deal for Vance, and a nice addition to their digital presence.”
Buyer: Petters Group
Seller: Metropolitan Media Group
Sale Price: N/A
The deal behind the deal: Bloomington, Minnesota-based Metropolitan Media Group—publisher of MinnesotaBusiness and 18 other regional lifestyle and custom magazines—sold to private equity firm Petters Group. The deal came the same day Metropolitan Media ceased operations due to “financial commitments,” a Petters Group spokesperson told FOLIO:.
As part of the deal, Metropolitan Media will be called the Community Media Group. Its operations will be relocated to Petters Group headquarters in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
Petters Group will determine which, if any of the magazines they will need to shutter. Metropolitan Media also publishes Bloomington, Edina and Lake Minnetonka.
Our panel says: “Petters appears not to have other media assets, so it seems to be a fit that they will make into a good one rather than the other way around. Some small synergies—like the airline relationship—are starting points, but not enough to buy a company, so Petters has something else in mind.”
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