Bisnow Acquired by Private Equity Firm The Wicks Group
Leading commercial real estate B2B media and events firm looks to capitalize on a decade's worth of rapid expansion.
Bisnow, the commercial real estate media startup that produces nearly 300 live events across North America, has been acquired by The Wicks Group, a New York-based private equity firm, both parties announced today.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Fortune reports that Wicks paid about $50 million for the acquisition.
Founded in 2005 and known for often injecting a self-aware, slightly irreverant tone atypical of trade media into its events and publications—the company's slogan is "(Almost) Never Boring"—Bisnow has spent the last decade growing from a digital newsletter to a leading player in commercial real estate media, attracting over 400,000 unique web visitors each month and 60,000 attendees to its various events throughout the year, according to the company.
The search for a new ownership structure began about six to nine months ago, Ryan Begelman, Bisnow co-chairman, tells Folio:, as the company sought new opportunities to capitalize on unprecedented growth.
A major factor in Bisnow's rapid expansion has been "decoupling" the company's editorial staff from its event production, instead installing a dedicated team that focuses on event programming and speaker recruitment full-time, says Begelman, as well as leveraging data technology to focus on hyper-local events.
"The B2B world doesn't borrow enough lessons from those in the B2C world who've done a brilliant job of building gorgeous interfaces and really becoming 21st century media companies by embracing things like social and mobile," Begelman continues. "We took ideas from some of the most cutting edge B2C media companies."
While advertising—both display and native—accounts for a significant portion of Bisnow's revenues, events are still the largest revenue stream, according to Begelman, who served as CEO until Friend took over in late 2014.
Part of the new owner's plan for Bisnow moving forward involves expanding the brand to serve new markets outside of North America, says Will Friend, Bisnow CEO.
"We are pleased to have found a partner that shares our vision and an appreciation for the culture, processes, people, products, and customer value that we've built," said Friend in a statement. "We're eager to continue building our track record of excellence and expandin gour product offering both here in the United States and later this year overseas."
New York-based investment bank JEGI represented Bisnow in the transaction, which closed on April 29. Legal counsel was provided to Bisnow and Wicks by Arent Fox and Morgan, Lewis & Blockus, respectively.