Sunshine Media and True North Custom Publishing Merge
Scottsdale, Arizona-based custom publishing company Sunshine Holdings Corporation has merged with Chattanooga, Tennessee-based custom publisher, True North Custom Publishing LLC. True North will become the custom publishing division of Sunshine. Media bankers The Jordan, Edmiston Group handled the transaction.
"We had three really compelling suitors in this process," says David McDonald, president and CEO of True North Custom Publishing. "Sunshine has a vast network of local physical publications that are completely custom to each market and that is what appealed to us tremendously, because that’s exactly what we do." McDonald will continue his role as president and CEO of True North and the division will remain based in Chattanooga.
Sunshine, which is owned by private equity group H.I.G. Capital, produces seven different magazine titles though 186 independent publishers nationwide, accounting for more than 1,000 unique regional magazine editions of healthcare titles M.D. News and Doctor Dentistry as well as magazines for other indsutries including Builder/Architect and Real Estate Executive. Sunshine also owns a printing operation located in Tucson, Arizona, where many of True North’s titles will be also be printed.
"Oftentimes in mergers people get too hung up on the cost synergies angle and it affects the size of the team, systems and procedures," says Jim Martin, president and CEO of Sunshine. "We really focused most of our discussion over the last eight or nine months on the revenue synergies using the Sunshine Media publisher network, especially M.D. News."
McDonald put True North on the block last June, in hopes of finding both a private equity partner as well as a strong strategic partner. He met with Martin last July, where H.I.G. provided strategic thinking around the value of the merger of the two companies, says McDonald. "I had a very well-defined vision of how I wanted this transaction to take place," he says. "I didn’t want to sell my company to a competitor and I wanted to make sure I put it in the hands of financial and strategic partners who could actually help us realize the goal to become America’s largest healthcare custom publisher. And we will become America’s largest healthcare custom publisher."
Martin and McDonald’s first priorities are to ensure employees at both companies (approximately 70 people are employed at each company) and customers and clients fully-understand what the merger means and how the companies will benefit from the transaction. Longer term goals are all about growth, says Martin. "There are tremendous new product ideas that we’ll be able to take immediate advantage of as we combine these two organizations," he says. "Longer term, organic growth is a primary importance, but you never know what opportunities may come to our attention over the course of the next few years."