Even as Canon Communications is acquiring a portfolio of Reed shows, former Canon CEO Bill Cobert is starting a new company to seek media-industry acquisitions. The company, called EBITDA Media, has one employee now, Cobert himself. But Cobert says it’s likely that he will have at least one acquisition in place in six to 12 months. He said he has a deal currently in his sights in a young market with plenty of opportunity for a rollup. Beyond that, he says, he will remain flexible, not locking into a specific equity partner and not homing into any particular market sectors for target acquisitions. "I’m not boxing myself in," he said at the American Business Media Spring Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, this week. "Essentially, I’m looking to build a couple of platform companies, with integrated media capabilities. It can start small, but it has to be scalable quickly."
Cobert, who was at Los Angeles-based Canon for 25 years, tripled the topline and quadrupled the bottom line during his tenure as CEO through a series of acquisitions as well as organic growth. But he says that when Canon was acquired by Apprise Media a year ago, he and Apprise CEO Charlie McCurdy did not come to terms on a long-term contract, so Cobert left.
EBITDA Media, Cobert says, represents the two things he does best. The name met with approval among several CEOs at the ABM conference. "That’ll get the attention of the private-equity firms," joked one. "There’s no mistaking what that company is about."