Updated: Path to Purchase Institute Acquired by Private Equity
The second major B2B acquisition in as many months sets RFE as a dominant player in the retail and CPG media space.
Updated on 4/14/16 at 5:16 pm EDT.
RFE Investment Partners has made its second major splash of the year in B2B media.
The Connecticut-based private equity firm announced on Monday its acquisition of the Path to Purchase Institute, publisher of the monthly Shopper Marketing magazine, for an undisclosed sum.
The deal, coming less than two months after RFE merged and then acquired Stagnito Business Information and Edgell Communications, makes RFE a dominant media source in the retail and consumer goods space.
Shopper Marketing, which claims a monthly circulation of over 18,000, as well as the Institute's events, e-learning, and book publishing businesses, will be joined under the RFE umbrella by Stagnito/Edgell titles such as Convenience Store News, Progressive Grocer, and RIS News, among several others.
"The whole concept of what we're trying to develop is a media company that really surrounds a given market, in this case the retail and consumer packaged goods space," Alan Glass, executive chairman of the newly formed entity that will oversee both Path to Purchase and Stagnito + Edgell, tells Folio:.
Glass describes the envisioned collaboration as the sum of a series of complementary parts: Path to Purchase and its focus on in-store marketing, Stagnito's big-picture coverage of the whole retail operation, and Edgell's expertise on the increasingly important technology side of the business.
"The idea is to offer a variety of products that fit the needs of a customer," Glass adds.
Both Path to Purchase Institute CEO, Peter Hoyt, and Kollin Stagnito, named president and CEO of Stagnito + Edgell after the RFE acquisition, will report to Glass.
A major focus for RFE since the merger and subsequent acquisition of Stagnito and Edgell has been organizational culture and ensuring a seamless transition for employees. Among the first investments was the hiring of Greg Flores, former SVP of human resources for Reed Business Information, as chief human resources officer.
"I want to emphasize that there are absolutely no terminations whatsoever," Glass continues. "We are, in fact, hiring. We're actively going after brand directors. We have sales people that we're adding. We are actively looking for a chief digital officer for the company."
And the acquisitions may not end here. Glass confirms that RFE is looking for opportunities to further develop the business through both acquisitions and organic growth.
Both acquisitions maintain what is now a well-established trend of B2B publishers getting scooped up by private equity—temporarily or otherwise—kicked off by Forstmann Little's surprising $1.4 billion acquisition of Ziff Davis in 1994, much to the chagrine of multiple international media conglomerates looking to grab the family-owned publisher.
More recently, Bruce Wasserstein, through his namesake private equity firm, reacquired ALM back in 2014. Months later, McGraw Hill sold its construction portfolio, including Architectural Record, to Symphony Technology Group for $320 million (BNP Media subsequently purchased Architectural Record less than a year later).
The Path to Purchase Institute was represented by New York-based investment bank Petsky Prunier, LLC.