M&A Activity Heating Up
Stagnito Communications, Ziff Enterprise Group,Wicks Business Information, among deals said to be in the works
In a mergers and acquisitions climate that has been red hot for months, this week is shaping up as one of the hottest. Word is circulating throughout the executive offices of active dealmakers regarding a number of transactions. Among them:
- Ziff Davis’ Enterprise Group, the largest of the three Ziff groups and the one that has seemingly attracted the most interest, is said to be in an exclusive negotiating stage with a venture-capital firm with no other magazine-industry holdings. The Enterprise Group had been in the news earlier in the year with an attempt by Willis Stein & Partners to divest Ziff Davis. In the fall, published reports indicated that private-equity firm Quadrangle Group was going to buy the $79 million group, but that deal never materialized.
- Overland Park, Kansas-based Ascend Media is said to be interested in focusing only on its medical-media holdings, and thus is in the process of divesting Stagnito Communications, a publisher of food and packaging magazines that came to Ascend as part of its acquisition of Medical World Communications acquisition in 2005. Among the suitors, sources say, are Canon Communications and Questex Media.
- Wicks Business Information, a unit of the PE firm Wicks Group of Companies, is said to be near a sale to Summit Business Media, the company created in late 2006 through the partnership of publishing icon Bill Reilly and the PE firm Wind Point Partners. Summit bought and combined Highline Media and Pfingsten Publishing. Wicks Business Information CEO Doug Manoni would not stay with the company in the event of the Summit deal, sources say.