dmg media acquires New Scientist for £70M

dmg media has acquired New Scientist, one of the world’s leading science publishing titles, from a consortium of individual investors led by Sir Bernard Gray, for £70m cash consideration. 

New Scientist, first published on 22 November 1956, is a magazine that covers all aspects of science and technology. Based in London with offices in the USA and Australia, it has a weekly circulation of approximately 120,000, of which just over half are UK-based. In 2021 the business is expected to generate cash operating income and operating profit of approximately £7 million and revenues are expected to exceed £20 million. Around 75% of the revenue base is derived from subscriptions. The business also runs international events including New Scientist Live.

Lord Rothermere, Chairman of DMGT, said: “New Scientist is a world-renowned publication loved by its readers, and we are both thrilled and proud to welcome it to the DMGT family.  They are a specialised and talented team who showcase the best of science journalism, bringing integrity, curiosity and craftmanship to their work.  We are very much looking forward to supporting their exciting plans to grow as the go-to publication for anyone interested in the scientific world around us.”  

Paul Zwillenberg, DMGT CEO, added: “The acquisition of New Scientist marks an exciting new addition to the DMGT portfolio and reflects our disciplined approach to acquisitions.  It is a natural step in our consumer strategy to improve the quality of our revenues through building up subscriptions and digital capabilities. We are committed to supporting the talented team and their plans for the future and are confident that the business is well positioned for future growth.” 

UK, London

Bowmark Capital backs buy-out of IWSR

Bowmark Capital, the mid-market private equity firm, has backed the buy-out of IWSR, a source of data and intelligence for the $1.5 trillion alcoholic beverage market, from FPE Capital. The terms of the transaction are not disclosed and the buy-out includes a re-investment by the IWSR management team..

IWSR’s database tracks consumption trends across 30,000 brands and 157 countries.  The company has over 200 blue chip customers representing all the major market participants including producers, ingredient manufacturers, investment banks and consultancies. The company’s data and insights help its customers understand channel, distribution and sales trends in all their core markets.

In the just under three years of FPE’s ownership IWSR increased revenues by 110% and increased EBITDA by 160%. It is the first exit for FPE from its second, spin-out fund which closed in 2017. The company also recently completed the acquisition of Wine Intelligence, broadening its coverage of the wine sector.

Bowmark investment director Tom Elliott said: “We have tracked IWSR for several years and have been impressed by the evolution of the business under the leadership of Mark and his team.  The business continues to capitalise on its unique position in a complex marketplace and has an exciting pipeline of new products to deliver additional value to its customers.  We are delighted to be backing the company in its next stage of growth.”

Mark Meek, CEO of IWSR, commented: “I am delighted with the progress the business has made in the last few years.  We are an ambitious team and are keen to work with Bowmark to continue to grow IWSR and expand the product portfolio and customer value proposition.  As we got to know Bowmark, it became clear that they really understand our sector and can help us accelerate our growth.”

UK, London

Allured Business Media acquires Creative Age

Allured Business Media has acquired publishing house Creative Age.

Creative Age was founded in 1971 by CEO Deborah Carver. Its brands include medical aesthetic brand MedEsthetics, professional nail brand NAILPRO, professional salon brand Beauty Launchpad and spa professional brand DAYSPA, along with its associated sub-brands and the NAILPRO events.

Allured Business Media already owns professional spa publication Skin Inc., fragrance and flavor formulation brand Perfumer & Flavorist, cosmetic business brand Global Cosmetic Industry and cosmetic science and technology brand Cosmetics & Toiletries.

Allured CEO George Fox noted, “We have a vested interest in all things beauty here at Allured, and this gives us the opportunity to build our breadth in beauty and personal care to include so many more touchpoints in professional spa and salon.”

Allured Business Media plans to utilize its digital and event expertise and the success of Creative Age to round out and expand the business. This will include a focus on content and engagement across all mediums to fully serve the business and educational needs of the salon and spa market.

Allure’s press release states that many Creative Age staff will remain after the transition, including editors, sales managers and CEO Deborah Carver. The terms of the deal were disclosed.

USA, Carol Stream, IL & Van Nuys, CA

CB Insights acquires VentureSource data from Dow Jones

CB Insights has acquired the data assets of VentureSource, a comprehensive portfolio relating to venture capital markets, from Dow Jones

The VentureSource database provides detailed and comprehensive data on venture-backed companies – including their investors and executives – in every region, industry, and stage of development throughout the world. This data helps customers find deal and partnership opportunities, perform comprehensive due diligence, and examine trends in venture capital investment, fundraising, and liquidity. 

The acquisition expands CB Insights’ private company data with data going back to 1983, including:

  • Private company valuations 
  • Management team information 
  • Data on deal service providers, including law firms and investment banks 

With the addition of the VentureSource database, CB Insights strengthens its position as a leader in emerging technology information and private market data.  

“Having the deepest and most complete data on emerging technology companies and technology markets is what our clients rely on CB Insights for, and the acquisition of the VentureSource database from Dow Jones furthers that mission,” said Anand Sanwal, CEO and co-founder of CB Insights. “Whether our clients are looking for technology vendors, partners, M&A targets and/or investments, they are now better equipped to discover and understand these companies and tech markets with the Dow Jones data we’ve acquired as a result of this transaction.”  

“CB Insights is well positioned to take VentureSource into its next chapter, in a way that provides even more value for customers,” said Chris Lloyd, head of Dow Jones’s Professional Information Business. “VentureSource’s high-quality data was developed through proprietary research and using content within Factiva — Dow Jones’s global database of more than 33,000 trusted news and information sources.”

CB Insights has also entered into a licensing arrangement with Dow Jones, which will see it provide a limited set of research reports and company data for Factiva. 

USA, New York. NY

Bloomsbury Publishing acquires Zed Books assets

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (“Bloomsbury”) announces today that it has acquired certain assets of Zed Books Limited, the London-based academic and non-fiction publisher. The consideration was £1.75 million, of which £0.875 million was satisfied in cash on completion and the remainder to be paid within 12 months.

Zed will operate within Bloomsbury’s Academic & Professional division and is expected to contribute approximately £0.8 million of revenue to Bloomsbury in its first year. The Acquisition is expected to break even in its first year, before reorganisation and acquisition costs, then be earnings enhancing thereafter, with improved profit following the integration of the business into Bloomsbury.

The acquired Zed titles are a good strategic fit with Bloomsbury’s existing publishing lists, whilst strengthening its offerings in African Studies and Development Studies. With the combined lists of Zed and I.B. Tauris, Bloomsbury is now a leader in academic Area Studies publishing. The Acquisition also enhances Bloomsbury’s Politics and International Relations list.

Jonathan Glasspool, Managing Director of Bloomsbury’s Academic & Professional Division said, “We are delighted to become the new guardian of the prestigious and progressive Zed list. The Zed programme aligns very well with our existing publishing within I.B. Tauris, and complements Bloomsbury Academic’s publishing across a wide range of humanities and social science subjects. Over 40 years, Zed has built up a unique presence in African and Development Studies, an area we wish to grow. We greatly look forward to working with Zed’s wonderful range of authors and partners.”

UK, London

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Portugal’s Cofina acquires Media Capital from Spain’s PRISA for EUR 225M

Cofina logoPortuguese publishing group Cofina has acquired Media Capital, which operates one of Portugal’s biggest TV channels, from Spanish firm PRISA (Promotora de Informaciones SA) for EUR 255 million (GBP 225 million). The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

PRISA logo

Media Capital is the largest group in the Portuguese media sector. Founded in 1992, it owns TVI which, via its channels TVI, TVI 24, TVI Ficção, TVI Reality, TVI Africa and TVI Internacional, reaches 10 million Portuguese speakers worldwide. The group includes MCR, the leading radio group in Portugal, operating Radio Comercial, M80, Cidade, SmoothFM and Vodafone FM, in addition to 14 digital radios.

Media Capital logoThe group also operates Media Capital Digital (IOL and TVI Player), and can boast more than 390 million visits to the group’s websites and eight million followers on social networks. Media Capital is also the owner of Plural Entertainment, one of the largest producers of audiovisual content on the Iberian peninsula (winner of two Emmy awards), as well as EMAV (a technical and recording services company) and EPC (a stage construction and rental company), both with a presence in the European market.

Cofina already owns tabloid Correio da Manha and business newspaper Jornal de Negocios, among others.

A Cofina spokesperson said, “This acquisition fits with the company’s vision for the media and appears to be the one that is best able to ensure its growth and sustainability, and is in line with the global trend towards consolidation of the media sector in the last years”.

Portugal, Lisbon & Porto  & Spain, Madrid

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Verisk acquires energy information business Genscape from DMGT for GBP 297M

Verisk logoThe Daily Mail and General Trust, owner of the Mail titles, has sold its energy information business Genscape for GBP 297 million to US firm Verisk. Genscape collects data and offers forecasts and analytics to customers in the market, as well as providing software solutions.

New York-listed Verisk, which also provides risk analysis to the insurance sector, acquired the energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie for GBP 1.85 billion in 2015. Genscape will become part of Wood Mackenzie.

DMGT chief executive Paul Zwillenberg said, “This transaction marks another major milestone in DMGT’s continued transformation and is in line with our strategy. It will further increase the focus of the portfolio and will result in DMGT operating in five sectors, compared to ten in 2016.”

He added that the sale of Genscape was “consistent with our strategic priorities” and would add more than GBP 200 million net cash to the company’s balance sheet.

UK, London, USA, Louisville, KY & Jersey City, NJ

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Ubisoft acquires Green Panda Games

Ubisoft logoUbisoft has acquired a 70% stake in Green Panda Games, a leading publisher of free-to-play mobile games, specialized in hyper-casual games. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2013 and based in Paris, Green Panda Games develops and publishes games in the idle genre. With a 30-person team, Green Panda Games has launched more than 55 games since its creation, downloaded by some 85 million players worldwide. Many of its games have been instant hits, such as Bee Factory, Sushi Bar and Terrarium. Green Panda Games will bring to Ubisoft a sharp editorial vision in the idle games segment, data-based iterative creative processes and expertise in both user acquisition and ad monetization strategies.

Commenting on the deal, Jean-Michel Detoc, Executive Director of Ubisoft Mobile, said, “This acquisition strengthens our position in the hyper-casual market, particularly within the idle games segment. Bringing Green Panda Games into the Group fits seamlessly with our aim of offering a diversified and high-quality line-up of mobile games to an ever-wider audience. We are very excited that this talented team is joining Ubisoft’s creative force”.

France, Montreuil & Paris

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Future plc acquires SmartBrief for USD 45M

Future plc logoFuture plc has acquired SmartBrief Inc., a US-based digital media publisher of targeted business news and information for USD 45 million. The initial amount will include a cash consideration of USD 32.2 million funded from the Group’s existing debt facilities, with a further USD 12.8 million to be satisfied through the issue to the vendors of 1,027,492 new ordinary shares. The agreement also includes a deferred consideration based on certain financial targets achieved over the year ending 31 July 2020, which is subject to a cap of USD 20 million.

Leveraging proprietary technology and editorial expertise, SmartBrief delivers relevant industry news in partnership with trade associations, professional societies and corporations. SmartBrief owns a database of over 5.8 million subscribers made up of senior executives, thought leaders and industry professionals.

Founded in 1999 and based in Washington DC, SmartBrief creates and distributes more than 250 digital newsletters, allowing advertisers to target and engage with decision-makers and influencers across multiple sectors including food and travel, business, education, finance, health care, retail, tech, marketing and advertising. During 2018 Future extended its successful consumer strategy into B2B through the acquisition of NewBay Media in the US, which enabled Future to access the B2B market with several market-leading titles.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, said, “The acquisition of SmartBrief will substantially boost our presence and market position in the B2B sector and enhance our technology capabilities.”

“SmartBrief is a leading, respected provider of sector-focused newsletters and daily email briefings covering a range of key verticals. The addition of SmartBrief’s must-read information products to our portfolio will further extend the reach of our B2B operations. The acquisition will be earnings enhancing, and we have identified several exciting opportunities to leverage SmartBrief’s proprietary technology in both our B2C and B2B business.”

UK, London & USA, Washington DC, WA

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Canal+ acquires Nollywood film studio ROK

Canal+CANAL+ Group has acquired ROK, the leading African film studio and international TV network, in a deal comprising production, content distribution and publishing channels. As part of the transaction, IROKO Ltd will also take full control of the JV IROKO+, the leading subscription video on demand (SVOD) platform in French-speaking Africa. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The move comes as CANAL+ Group looks to strengthen its content production reach in Nigeria and across Africa. As part of the acquisition, ROK founder, Mary Njoku, will continue in a leadership role as Director General of ROK Productions SAS and maintains a material shareholding in the company.

In Africa alone, ROK has produced over 540 movies and 25 original TV series, making ROK one of the most prolific production houses in Nollywood.

ROK will continue to produce Nollywood content to deliver movies and original TV series for CANAL+ Group’s audiences. As part of the acquisition, CANAL+ Group will continue to collaborate with IROKO Ltd, with a non-exclusive content distribution of ROK content via the IROKOtv SVOD app.

ROK was incubated from 2013 onwards by IROKO Ltd, the leading African digital content distributor for Nollywood content, whose flagship platform IROKOtv has transformed how Nollywood content is accessed and consumed around the world.

Speaking on the acquisition, Mary Njoku said, “ROK has captured the imagination of millions of movie fans, and they have truly supported us as we’ve grown the company to celebrate and enjoy our African culture. I’m excited to be taking our platform on the next stage of its journey with CANAL+ Group, who share our passion for creating original content, supporting new talent and together, we have ambitious plans for the future.”

France, Paris & Nigeria, Lagos

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