Centaur Media Plc agrees sale of travel and meetings exhibitions to Northstar

centaur-logoCentaur, the international provider of business information and specialist consultancy, has entered into a conditional agreement to sell Centaur Media Travel and Meetings Limited, the owner of the Business Travel Show and The Meetings Show, to Northstar Travel Media UK Limited, a leading B2B information and marketing solutions company focused on the global travel and meetings industries. Completion of the disposal is expected to take place on 30 April 2019.

The disposal follows Centaur’s decision last October to explore the divestment of its smaller businesses in order to simplify the Group’s structure and to focus management resources on its leading brands. Centaur announced on 1 April 2019 that it has raised £5m from the sale of its financial services business, which includes brands such as Money Marketing and Mortgage Strategy.

Northstar will pay a cash consideration of £9.25m (subject to customary post-completion adjustments) for CTM, which formed part of the Group’s professional services division. Centaur will consider the best use for the sale proceeds following the completion of its divestment review.

Centaur’s professional services division comprises The Lawyer and a portfolio of market leading event brands across three sectors: travel and meetings, human resources and engineering.

Andria Vidler, Chief Executive of Centaur, said, “[This] is another important milestone in Centaur’s ongoing transformation. As we focus on building more robust and stronger recurring revenues, we are reducing Group complexity and overheads that will allow us to deliver efficiencies and improve our operating margins.”

For the year ended 31 December 2018, Centaur’s travel and meetings exhibitions made normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation operating profit of £1.7m (before central overhead allocations), up from £1.6m in 2017, on revenues of £6.4m (2017: £6.1m). At 31 December 2018, the business had gross assets of £1.7m.

UK, London & USA, Secaucus, NJ

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Simplify Compliance completes sale of Argosy Group

Simplify ComplianceSimplify Compliance, a Leeds Equity Partners portfolio company, has completed the sale of Argosy Group. The transaction resulted from a strategic decision to further hone the parent company’s focus on its core markets: human capital management, healthcare, environmental health and safety, and communications. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Argosy Group includes a suite of trusted brands that date back more than 50 years, providing a diverse line of award-winning business publications, databases, conferences, online information services, and resource directories for financial services professionals, regulators, lawyers, accountants, and vendors.

The sale of Argosy Group is consistent with Simplify Compliance’s corporate strategy which focuses on the high-growth areas of corporate training, data, and tech-enabled solutions. “We see this sale as an opportunity to allocate resources and pursue investments that align with our strategic vision,” said Simplify Compliance CEO Dan Oswald. “To that end, we’ll continue to invest in new product development and explore acquisitions that expand and strengthen our product portfolio.”

PEI MediaThe buyer, PEI Media Group, is a UK-based global B2B information group focused on private equity, private real estate, private debt, infrastructure and agri investing. “The Argosy Group has been the go-to provider for information for private equity and venture capital executives for decades, the team has done an excellent job growing their market and evolving their products to better serve the community,” says Scott VanHoy, partner with Leeds Equity. “We believe there is a great strategic fit between PEI and Argosy in continuing to provide compelling information and intelligence to their customers.”

USA, Brentwood, TN & New York, NY

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DC Thomson Media acquires PSP Media

DC Thomson MediaDC Thomson Media has acquired PSP Media, a Glasgow-based publisher and event specialist. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Having bought No.1 magazine from PSP Media in 2015, a number of adjacencies and synergies were identified between the two businesses. With this acquisition, DC Thomson Media enters new markets including both B2B and B2C events and exhibitions of scale, and contract publishing.

Mike Watson, Chief Executive Officer at DC Thomson Media, said, “I’m thrilled to have Paul, Tom and the PSP team join the business. At DC Thomson Media we are working to protect our core newspaper and magazine business whilst achieving sustainable business growth. The diversification into new sectors that PSP Media brings is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved.”

UK, Dundee & Glasgow

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Bonhill Group to acquire Last Word Media for up to £10M

BonhillB2B media business Bonhill Group is to acquire Last Word MediaBonhill will pay an initial consideration of £8.0 million, £6.0 million in cash and £2.0 million through a share issue. A deferred payment of £2 million will be made dependent on the financial performance of Last Word during the years ending 31 December 2019 and 31 December 2020.

Last WordLast Word is an international B2B media business addressing the sales and marketing needs of the global asset management industry and information requirements of the wealth management industry.

Launched in 2005, Last Word is owned by its three founders Rod Boulogne, Jamie Hinchliffe and Dylan Emery, and the co-founder of its Asian operation, Tom Porter. Last Word has 71 staff based in its London head office with another 8 staff in Hong Kong and 3 staff in Singapore.

The business creates content, sales and marketing opportunities, networking events and transactional opportunities for its clients and audiences with the key objective to assist asset managers with increasing assets under management.

Last Word currently operates seven investor facing brands. These include seven news and information websites, two of which have associated print titles and, in 2018, the brands collectively hosted 86 scheduled live events. Last Word also operates a further three brands targeting asset managers with event services, content marketing solutions and research data products.

Last Word has approximately 190 clients, including Aberdeen Standard Investments, Allianz Global Investors, BNY Mellon Investment Management, Hermes Investments, Invesco, Janus Henderson, Jupiter Investments, Merian Global Investors, Schroders and T. Rowe Price.

In the year ended 31 December 2018, Last Word generated revenue of approximately £10.2 million (2017: £9.2 million) and had EBITDA of approximately £1.1 million (2017: £0.3 million). As at 31 December 2018, Last Word had consolidated net assets of approximately £1.42 million (2017: £0.78 million).

In the year ended 31 December 2018, 71 per cent. of total revenues were generated in the UK, 16 per cent. in Asia, 8 per cent. in Europe and the balance in the rest of the world. Of total revenues generated in the year ended 31 December 2018, Live Events accounted for 59 per cent., Business Information accounted for 26 per cent. and Data & Insight and content marketing together for 15 per cent

Simon Stilwell, Chief Executive of Bonhill, commented:

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Last Word, a leading international B2B media business servicing the global asset management sector.  Bringing our two businesses together will enable Bonhill to provide a truly global sales and marketing proposition to the international asset management community and provides the opportunity to leverage InvestmentNews’ presence and platform to expand its existing propositions in the US. These are exciting times for the Company and we look forward to the period ahead.”

UK, London

Centaur Media Plc sells financial services division to Metropolis

centaur-logoCentaur Media has sold its financial services division to Metropolis Group for £5 million.

The disposal follows Centaur’s decision last October to explore the divestment of its smaller businesses in order to simplify the Group’s structure and to focus management resources on its leading brands.

Metropolis has paid £5 million in cash for the division sold. Centaur will consider the best use for the proceeds following the completion of its divestment review.

Centaur’s financial services division comprises a portfolio of leading multi-channel publishing and content brands, including Money Marketing, Mortgage Strategy, Platforum, Taxbriefs and Headline Money. These brands generate advertising and other revenue by serving a range of audience segments within the financial services industry, including financial advisers, mortgage brokers, accountants and asset managers.

Andria Vidler, Chief Executive of Centaur, said, “This disposal continues the simplification of Centaur, further reducing our advertising exposure and allowing us to focus on developing products and services with stronger recurring revenues. A simpler group structure will allow us to deliver efficiencies and other operational benefits.

“Our financial services portfolio which includes Money Marketing has played a key role in the development of Centaur over the years, and I want to thank the teams for all their hard work. I am pleased that Metropolis sees the potential to develop the business further.”

Robert Marr, Chief Executive of Metropolis Group, added, “The acquisition continues the development of Metropolis and aligns with our vision of delivering sustainable profitable futures for well-managed media brands. We look forward to working together with the financial services team to further develop these long-standing market-leading brands.”

For the year ended 31 December 2018, Centaur’s financial services business made an adjusted operating profit of £1.2m, up from £0.6m in 2017, on revenues of £8.2m (2017: £8.9m). At 31 December 2018, the business had gross assets of £2.3m.

UK, London

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Acuris acquires Blackpeak

AcurisAcuris, a BC Partners and GIC-backed provider of financial data, intelligence, research and analysis, has acquired Blackpeak, an investigative research firm. Blackpeak will join Acuris’ Compliance division. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Co-founded by Jack Clode and Chris Leahy in 2011, Blackpeak is a premier provider of complex due diligence, research and investigation services, particularly in relation to capital markets, M&A and private equity.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, Blackpeak now operates from key financial and economic centers, including Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, New York and Washington DC.

Hamilton Matthews

Hamilton Matthews CEO, Acuris

“We are delighted to welcome Jack, Chris and the Blackpeak team to the growing Acuris family. With its expert capabilities as a premium Enhanced Due Diligence services provider and impressive customer portfolio of global blue-chip customers, Blackpeak will enhance our Compliance division’s proposition considerably,” says Hamilton Matthews, CEO of Acuris. “We look forward to working together to support Blackpeak’s growth ambitions and meet the evolving demands of our customers.”

UK, London & Hong Kong

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ClearCourse Partnership acquires Circdata

clearcoursAquiline Capital Partners backed ClearCourse Partnership, a group of technology companies providing membership software and services, has acquired Circdata, a provider of event technology. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Newbury. The company employs around 55 people across its head office in the UK and R&D team in Poland. Circdata was originally a data management company and has since developed into an event technology business, providing software solutions to many of the world’s largest exhibition and conference organisers. Its proprietary software platform, Fusion, offers a suite of services that aide exhibitor management, visitor registration, ticket sales and subscriptions.

Following the acquisition, the company will be led by Chris Clipston, in his new role as Managing Director of Circdata, and the existing management team. James Ormiston, Circdata’s founder, will move to an advisory and consulting role.

Since its foundation in 2018, ClearCourse has acquired four other UK-based software and service providers: MillerTech, Silverbear, Clear Direct Debit and APT Solutions. Gerry Gualtieri, CEO of ClearCourse, says: “We are delighted to announce the addition of Circdata to the Partnership. Our mission is to foster talent and innovation in the membership software space, supporting the growth and development of dynamic tech companies through the provision of both capital and operational resource. Circdata’s addition to the group will create several operational and market synergies with our existing companies.

UK, London & Newbury, Berkshire