More B-to-B Publishers on the Block: Highline Media and Pfingsten Publishing
Also for sale, is Cleveland, Ohio-based Pfingsten Publishing, owned by private equity company, Pfingsten Partners, which is based in Illinois. Three sources in the banking industry said today that the companies are seeking buyers.
But some observers wonder why the Highline’s backer would put its investment on the block so soon. Typically, private-equity firms hold their investments three to five years. "If Highline is on the block, the decision is probably being driven by (backer) Spire (Capital)," says one source. 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. Highline CEO Andrew Goodenough, who is out of the office until Monday, did not respond to email and phone requests for comment.
Highline is backed by Spire Capital, a private equity firm whose current fund is making investments totaling $260 million; and the banks Harris Nesbitt and Brown Brothers Harriman, according to the company’s Web site.
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, became part of Highline’s National Underwriter Property/Casualty Insurance Conference Division.
The Financial Services Group, which publishes Life Insurance Selling, American Agent & Broker and Mortgage Originator magazines, produces 24 conferences, 2 trade shows and other educational, electronic and ancillary products that serve the life insurance, property casualty insurance, and mortgage origination markets; and
It’s made several acquisitions since 2000, including the acquisition of Mortgage Originator magazine and its related products; the acquisition of Advanstar’s Art Group and the acquisition of Spectrum Communications. Revenue figures for the company could not be learned. Company president Joseph Bennett could not immediately be reached for comment. Bill Mickey contributed to this story.