Sources: Wasserstein Said to Have Edge in Primedia Deal
The sale of the Primedia Enthusiast Media is imminent, with two final bidders, several sources said at the American Business Media Spring Meeting Monday and Tuesday. The two finalists are investment firms Elevation Partners and Wasserstein & Co., sources said, with Wasserstein having the preferred position.
Final bids were due Friday, one industry source said, and typically, a winning bid is selected within a couple of days.
"It should be announced any day," the source said. "They don’t want to lose the cover bid."
The cover bid is jargon for Plan B. If something happens with the preferred bid then the cover bid is there as a backup. "But if the cover bidder submits a bid and then doesn’t hear anything for several days, they’re going to assume the seller is talking to someone else. If you can’t get these things done quickly, you could lose the deal."
If Wasserstein does end up the winning bidder for the $500 million company;essentially the last major vestige of a once $1.7 billion company;it will have not just added to its extraordinary publishing portfolio, it will have to some degree reassembled the major pieces of the old Primedia. In 2005, it acquired Primedia Business for $385 million. In December of that year, Wasserstein acquired the Ward’s Automotive business from Primedia, which had not been included in the prior deal. And in early 2004, Wasserstein acquired New York Magazine from Primedia.
Which leads to Primedia Enthusiast Media, the number-one special interest media company in the country, with over 70 publications, including including Motor Trend, Automobile, Hot Rod, Automotive.com, Power and Motoryacht and Surfer.