Chairman ﾕ Bonnier Corp.
Bonnier, surrounded by private equity in the Time4 deal, keeps the torch lit for strategic buyers with a long-term investment strategy for its special interest magazines.
Following months of speculation, Bonnier, a 200-year-old Swedish-based company with about $2.5 billion in annual revenue, emerged in January as the winning bidder for Time Inc.’s enthusiast division, Time4Media and its Parenting Group. What’s notable about the deal, however, is Bonnier, considered a strategic buyer, won out over a group of buyers backed by private equity. In fact, sources repeatedly mentioned its status as a strategic that gave Bonnier the edge in the deal;not to mention the company was willing to buy the entire package.
Jonas Bonnier, who, as a result of the transaction, has become chairman of the newly created Bonnier Corp.;a merger of the Time4 titles and World Publications, in which Bonnier bought a 49 percent stake;has fulfilled a long-standing strategy for the company. "For more than 40 years, we have tried to establish a position in the U.S. magazine market," he says. "And we will keep on trying to do this for the coming 40 years. For anyone who wants a strong presence in the international magazine market, publishing in English is essential."
The new company will offer 40 magazines and generate annual revenue of more than $350 million.
Nevertheless, Bonnier has his work cut out for him. The Time4 titles suffered significant revenue declines in 2006. But he remains optimistic. "What Bonnier brings to the table is a profound know-how of the magazine business in its transcending phase of 2007 and a close-to-naíve belief in the long-term strength of special-interest magazines," he says.
Bonnier’s priorities are: "1. make sure the best guys work for you; 2. Don’t lose faith in your existing brands and products; 3. Take care of the rights issues; 4. Don’t be faster than the money in exploring new ventures; 5. Dominate our verticals in all media formats," he says.
Bonnier spends $200 million to buy Time Inc.’s Time4Media titles in one fell swoop;one of the largest deals of 2006;giving the Swedish company, along with its stake in World Publications, a $350 million foothold in U.S. enthusiast publishing.