Reed Business Information sells New Scientist

New ScientistReed Business Information (RBI) has sold New Scientist and its associated products and events to Kingston Acquisitions Limited, a company established by the former management team of Times Educational Supplement for the purpose of acquiring New Scientist. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

First published in 1956, New Scientist is a weekly science and technology magazine. The magazine covers current developments, news, reviews and commentary on science and technology. It also publishes speculative articles, ranging from the technical to the philosophical. A readers’ letters section discusses recent articles, and discussions also take place on the website. It has an average circulation (ABC audit) of 125,000, 82% print and 18% digital. 56% of it circulation is in the UK and Ireland, 44% ROW.

Kingston Acquisitions is led by by Sir Bernard Gray. Gray spent nearly ten years as a journalist at the Financial Times Group, including as a defence correspondent. Later he became chief executive of UBM’s, CMP Information. In 2005 Gray was appointed chief executive of TSL Education Limited, publisher of the Times Educational Supplement, when it was acquired by Exponent. He has been a defence adviser on defence spending to both the labour and conservative governments.

RBI is part of Relx (formerly Reed Elsevier). Relx has sold off the majority of its magazine publishing businesses. Its strategy is to move away from print revenues and instead to develop information-based analytics and decision tools that deliver enhanced value to customers.

UK, London

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Euromoney acquires RISI, a leading price reporting agency, for $125 million

Euromoney PLCEuromoney Institutional Investor is to acquire RISI, the price reporting agency for the global forest products market, for $125 million in cash.

Founded in 1985, RISI has been part of AXIO Group, an Epiris Managers’ business, since 2013. RISI is headquartered in USA, Bedford, Massachusetts, and employs 150 people across the United States, China, Belgium, Finland and Brazil.

risiIts product suite consists of pricing data, mill intelligence and analytics as well as news, research and conferences covering the pulp, packaging, wood products, wood fibre and saw logs markets. Its price indices are critical to the daily business operations and trading activities of major paper and board, packaging and other forest-product companies. 

 RISI’s products are embedded in the workflows of its customers who use RISI’s information to price physical transactions and inform their strategic decisions. Many of RISI’s 2200 price series are used as the main settlement mechanism in industry contracts. 

In calendar year 2016 RISI’s unaudited revenues were $29.6 million and its unaudited EBITDA was $7.7 million. RISI’s revenues are derived predominantly from selling subscription products and have high revenue renewal rates. RISI’s unaudited gross assets at December 31, 2016 were $29.8 million.  

On completion, Euromoney will pay $125 million in cash for RISI, funded from its existing revolving credit facility.  Completion is subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino approval in the United States, which is expected to take approximately four weeks. The acquisition is expected to be earnings-enhancing for Euromoney in its current financial year.

RISI will be managed as part of a new Price Reporting Division, alongside Metal Bulletin Group (Metal Bulletin, American Metal Market and Industrial Minerals), and will report into Raju Daswani, CEO of Metal Bulletin Group and head of the new Price Reporting Division.

Andrew Rashbass, CEO of Euromoney, said: “The acquisition of RISI is another important step in Euromoney’s strategy of building a portfolio of leading price reporting agencies in growing international markets. RISI is a very high-quality business which Euromoney is perfectly placed to grow further. We look forward to working with RISI management and employees around the world to offer the company’s customers products of the highest value.”

In its recent strategy update, Euromoney highlighted price discovery as a key investment theme. The acquisition of RISI follows the acquisition in August last year of FastMarkets, a provider of real-time metals market pricing information.

UK, London & USA, Bedford, MA

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ZPG Plc acquires Expert Agent

zpgZPG Plc has acquired Expert Agent. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Established in 2003, Expert Agent provides cloud-based software solutions and systems for the day-to-day management of inventory, marketing and communications for estate agents and lettings agents across the UK. 

expertagentUntil February 2017 ZPG Plc was called Zoopla Property Group Plc. The company is already the owner of Zoopla, uSwitch, PrimeLocation, Hometrack and Property Software Group.

Expert Agent will continue to operate as a standalone platform and brand and the team will become part of the Property Services division of ZPG.

Mark Goddard, Managing Director, ZPG Property Services said, “This acquisition helps us continue to enhance the services we offer to UK property professionals, including software and CRM, digital marketing and data insight tools. We will integrate our MoveIT and MyPropertyFile products into the Expert Agent platform in time to provide its members with a range of new revenue opportunities. Our ambition is to be the most effective partner to the UK property industry and this deal is another step towards that goal. We look forward to welcoming Mike and his team to the ZPG family.”

UK, London

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Keywords Studios acquires Spov 

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Spov Ltd. for up to £1.2 million in cash from its founder, Allen Leitch. Based in London, UK, Spov provides creative development, cinematics, UI, visual effects and motion graphics services to the video game and film markets. ()

Founded in 2007 by Allen Leitch, Spov maintains a small team of creatives in London and manages a network of experienced designers, animators, film makers and artists to produce intricate footage for use in video games, film and TV. The company has worked on titles that include Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Watch Dogs, The Division, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare; Batman: Arkham Knight and Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

 Fred Stockton, Global Art Service Line Director, Keywords Studios commented: “We are thrilled to have Allen and the Spov team of talented creative professionals join the Art Service Line at Keywords Studios.  Their skills and experience will enhance our ability to provide a broader range of services to our clients.  Likewise, we look forward to meeting with Spov clients to share with them the full spectrum of capabilities that Keywords Studios has to offer.  This acquisition will strengthen our market position as a leading provider of digital art services and will contribute to our continuing growth in this area.”

Ireland, Dublin & UK, London

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Ascential plc acquires MediaLink for up to $207M

ascentialAscential plc the B2B media company, is to acquire US-based media advisory and business services provider MediaLink for an initial cash price of $69 million plus earnouts.

The earnouts are payable over the period to February 2021 based on the adjusted EBITDA of the business for the three years 2017 to 2019 and are expected to total between $42m and $62m. The earnouts are payable in cash or, for certain elements, shares at Ascential’s option and a portion of the earn-out payments is subject to founders remaining in employment with the company. The total aggregate consideration, including initial consideration and earn out payments, is capped at $207m and requires stretching profit targets to be reached.

MediaLink reported unaudited revenue of $54 million and adjusted PBT of $14 million in 2016, with year-on-year growth of 29% and 24% respectively, and had gross assets of $11 million at December 2016.

The company serves the consumer goods and services segment and operates from four offices in the U.S. Michael Kassan founded Medialink in 2003, he will continue to run the business.

Duncan Painter, Chief Executive Officer of Ascential plc, said: “MediaLink is a leader in its industry, with a strong and very visible brand presence in the US. MediaLink is an excellent fit with our existing Ascential offering and I am confident we can help accelerate MediaLink’s business into new markets by using our assets and infrastructure over the coming months and years. I see synergies between MediaLink and our portfolio of products to significantly help accelerate our existing businesses and create additional value for shareholders.”

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

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Homeserve acquires 40% of Checkatrade and 70% of Habitissimo for a combined £37M

homeserveHomeServe plc, the home repair and improvements business, has acquired shareholdings in Checkatrade in the UK and Habitissimo in Spain, two separate businesses that provide access to high quality tradespeople performing home repairs and improvements via online platforms.

Checkatrade, based in Selsey, is a UK online directory of customer recommended tradespeople with nearly 1m unique customer visits a month, resulting in approximately 1.3m jobs per annum.  HomeServe has acquired a 40 per cent interest in the business with an option to increase its position by a further 35 per cent in two years.

Habitissimo is an international online business that provides support for home improvements and repairs, connecting homeowners to trusted local tradespeople.  Based in Mallorca (Spain), Habitissimo receives over 3.6 million unique customer visits a month, resulting in approximately 0.25m jobs per annum across nine countries in Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy and France) and Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia).  HomeServe has acquired a 70 per cent interest in the business with an option to increase its position by a further 30 per cent in either four or five years’ time.

The combined consideration for these two acquisitions was £37 million.

Richard Harpin, Chief Executive, HomeServe plc, commented: “Our investments in Checkatrade and Habitissimo underline HomeServe’s ambition to be at the forefront of the technological revolution as the world’s most trusted provider of home repairs and improvements.  Both of these businesses provide innovative digital platforms, connecting customers to reliable tradespeople.  With leading positions in the home repair and improvements market, these businesses will broaden HomeServe’s reach enabling us to meet the needs of younger, non-insurance minded customers who are looking to find immediate help from a wide range of home trades.

UK, Walsall, West Midlands & UK, Selsey, West Sussex & Spain, Palma De Mallorca, Islas Baleares

 

Zoopla acquires Hometrack for £12M


zooplapropertyZoopla Property Group Plc is to acquire Hometrack.co.uk Limited, the UK provider of residential property market insights and analytics, for £120 million.

Established in 1999, Hometrack provides residential property market insights, analytics, valuations and data services to around 400 mortgage lenders, new home developers, investors, housing associations and local authorities. 

The total consideration is £120 million on a cash-free, debt-free basis with £108 million due on completion and £6 million payable on each of the first and second anniversary following completion. Hometrack has a CAGR of c.15% from FhometrackY13-FY16 and generated revenues of £15.5 million and adjusted EBITDA of £7.1 million in the year to 30 June 2016. The consideration represents a 14.7x multiple based on LTM to Dec-16 adjusted EBITDA for Hometrack. The value of Hometrack’s gross assets was £13.1 million as at 30 June 2016.

The acquisition will be financed through a combination of existing cash resources, a new £75 million term loan and an equity placing of up to 5% of Zoopla’s ordinary issued share capital.

Alex Chesterman, Founder & CEO of Zoopla commented, “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Hometrack, the clear market leader in AVM services in the UK and a leading player in Australia. The deal will allow us to serve our consumers and partners even more effectively and gives us unrivalled data capabilities in the residential property market. Hometrack is a perfect fit to develop our data services business and I look forward to welcoming Charlie and his team to the ZPG (Zoopla) family.”

Hometrack provides its products to 15 of the top 20 mortgage lenders in the UK as well as all 4 leading Aushometracktralian mortgage lenders and its UK automated valuation model is recognised by all the major ratings agencies. Over 70% of Hometrack’s revenues are subscription-based and underpinned by long-term relationships.

Hometrack has 55 staff operating out of offices in London and Sydney. Following completion, Hometrack will continue to operate as a standalone brand and platform with the team forming the cornerstone of Zoopla’s data services business, which will be headed up by Charlie Bryant, CEO of Hometrack.

UK, London

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