CloserStill Media acquires a majority stake in The eLearning Guild in the US

CloserStillCloserStill Media has acquired a majority stake in FocusZone Media, Inc., operating as The eLearning Guild, for an undisclosed sum. The eLearning Guild has a 40,000+ membership community of learning and development professionals in the United States and across the world. The Guild operates major conferences and exhibitions including DevLearn (Las Vegas, NV), Learning Solutions (Orlando, FL) and Realities 360 (San Jose, CL) and has a number of digital publications as well as research and online events.

CloserStill runs the world’s leading workplace learning event brand, Learning Technologies, with three market leading annual events in London, Berlin (with Online Educa) and Paris, a global digital community and the industry’s leading awards programme for corporate learning and development professionals. The London event in February is Europe’s largest annual exhibition and conference for the workplace learning sector attracting more than 8,000 attendees and over 200 exhibitors.

CloserStill’s Learning Group Managing Director, Mark Penton, said, “We are delighted to welcome The eLearning Guild and their impressive event portfolio to our growing global network and are incredibly excited by the huge opportunities this will create. And most importantly, we look forward to enhancing the collaboration between our family of learning brands and their learning communities around the world.”

USA, Santa Rosa, CL & UK, London

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Skift acquires Airline Weekly

SkiftTravel industry intelligence and marketing platform Skift has acquired Airline Weekly, including its subscription-based newsletter and related assets. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 2004 by Jay Shabat, Seth Kaplan and Jason Cottrell, the publication provides insight and analysis of the commercial passenger airline industry worldwide.

Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of Skift, said, “Now that we are in our sixth year at Skift, we have been exploring various ways to expand our roots in the travel sector and go deeper into our existing focus areas with more expertise. With Airline Weekly, the Airline Innovation Report, and our global forums, Skift now offers the strongest business coverage of commercial aviation in the world”.

USA, New York, NY & Fort Myers, FL

DC Thomson Media acquires Aceville Publications

DC Thomson MediaDC Thomson Media has announced the acquisition of independent magazine publisher Aceville Publications. Headquartered in Dundee, DC Thomson Media has been publishing for over 100 years and has a portfolio of more than 20 magazines, including the much loved brands The People’s Friend and Beano. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Aceville Publications is one of the fastest-growing publishing houses in the UK and home to over 40 in-house brands including the leading UK-based craft titles to gardening, health and food publications. This is complemented by a growing B2B portfolio.

Chief executive officer at DC Thomson Media, Mike Watson, said,“We’re excited to have acquired Aceville and are looking forward to working together. The team at Aceville, and their portfolio, are a great fit for our business and this collaboration opens up a host of opportunities for both businesses. This is a hugely exciting time for everyone at DC Thomson Media and Aceville. This acquisition will materially change our landscape and is a key step in our Protect, Launch, Diversify strategy.”

UK, Dundee & Colchester

Salesforce founder Marc Benioff to acquire Time Magazine for $190M

Time MagazineBillionaire and co-founder of Salesforce.com, Marc Benioff – along with his wife, Lynne Benioff – are to buy Time Magazine for an estimated $190 million in cash, just eight months after it was sold to Meredith Corporation. The deal could close within one month, but it must first get regulatory approval.

The Benioffs, who are purchasing the magazine personally in a the deal unrelated to Salesforce, will not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions, which will continue to be led by TIME’s current executive leadership team.

Meredith completed its purchase of Time at the end of January 2018. Soon after its completion, Meredith said it was selling Time’s news and sports brands to focus on other brands that served its core target audience: American women.

Benioff recently tweeted, “The power of Time has always been in its unique storytelling of the people & issues that affect us all & connect us all. A treasure trove of our history & culture. We have deep respect for their organization & honored to be stewards of this iconic brand”.

Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal said, “On behalf of the entire TIME team, we are very excited to begin this next chapter in our history. We can’t imagine better stewards for TIME than Marc and Lynne Benioff.”

USA, New York, NY & Des Moines, Iowa

 

Blackstone completes acquisition of PSAV

BlackstonePrivate equity and real estate funds managed by Blackstone have completed the acquisition of event experiences company PSAV. As part of the completed transaction, affiliates of Goldman Sachs will be reinvesting alongside Blackstone in the transaction to continue to participate in the ongoing growth of PSAV. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

PSAV is a global leader in event experiences, providing creative, production, advanced technology and staging services to help meeting planners deliver more dynamic and impactful experiences at their meetings, trade shows and special events. The team consists of more than 9,000 professionals across 1,500 on-site venue locations and 49 branch offices within the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. It was recently named to the Forbes 2018 America’s Best Employer list.

PSAV delivers on its purpose of connecting and inspiring people by creating impactful event experiences. Through its deep expertise in creative, production, advanced technology and staging services, PSAV is an invaluable partner to meeting and event planners. It is the trusted provider of choice at leading venues across the globe.

In June, the companies announced a definitive agreement for Blackstone to acquire PSAV from affiliates of Goldman Sachs and Olympus Partners.

USA, New York, NY & Schiller Park, IL

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Euromoney acquires price reporting business Random Lengths for $18.2M

Euromoney plcEuromoney Institutional Investor PLC has acquired Random Lengths, a price reporting agency for the global wood products industry.

Random Lengths provides unbiased and consistent price assessments and market reporting for the global wood products industry with a core focus on the North American lumber and panels markets, assessing and publishing over 1,500 prices per week. The acquisition strengthens Euromoney’s position in price reporting for the global forest products industry, following the acquisition of RISI in April 2017, which provides price reporting, analytics and industry events for the same sector.

Euromoney will pay $18.2 million in cash for Random Lengths, of which $2 million is deferred for up to 18 months. Pro forma EBITDA for the financial year 2018 is expected to be $1.1 million.

Random LengthsRaju Daswani, CEO of Euromoney’s PRA Division, said: “The acquisition of Random Lengths is an important step in our strategy to be a leading global cross-commodity PRA business for the markets we serve. Random Lengths has a strong reputation in North America and is complementary to our existing forest products business, established through the acquisition of RISI in 2017. By integrating these businesses alongside our metals & mining services, we will further establish our position as a global leader in the commodity price reporting industry. “

UK, London & USA, Eugene, OR

Exponent acquires Dennis Publishing

Exponent PEExponent is to acquire Dennis Publishing, a multi-platform international media group which owns several award-winning brands including its flagship title, The Week.

Initial reports from Sky News suggested Exponent could pay between £150m and £200m, with The Week alone valued at around £100m, although the final amount was unconfirmed.

Dennis is a leading consumer media and e-commerce organisation, based in London and New York. Its portfolio consists of over 30 brands across four main areas of focus: Current Affairs, Technology, Automotive and Special Interest. In addition to The Week, it is home to several well-known brands including MoneyWeek, The Week Junior, BuyACar.co.uk, Auto Express, CarBuyer, Computer Active, Alphr.com, Cyclist and Viz, among others. Across all its brands it reaches over 50 million readers and sells over 2.5 million magazines every month.

Dennis is the first investment to be made from Exponent’s fourth fund, Exponent Private Equity Partners IV, LP.

Commenting on the acquisition, David McGovern of Exponent, said, “Dennis is a unique, innovative and dynamic publishing and e-commerce business. We believe that there is a significant opportunity to grow both its print and digital platforms, which will allow it to reach and engage even more readers and customers. Exponent is delighted to back James Tye and his team. We look forward to combining their expert knowledge with our own deep experience in consumer media and e-commerce to help further develop Dennis’ strong market positions and build on Felix Dennis’ legacy.”

Dick Pountain, on behalf of the Executors of the Felix Dennis estate, said, “The Executors of Felix Dennis’ estate are delighted to agree the sale of Dennis Publishing to Exponent. We see Exponent as excellent partners for Dennis; their track record in media is extremely strong and we have confidence in their ability to continue to grow the size and reputation of the company that Felix created almost 50 years ago.

The proceeds of this sale go to the Heart of England Forest (HoEF), a charity which Felix established during his lifetime. This endowment will enable the charity to create Felix’s ambitious vision – planting and maintaining the largest contiguous, broadleaf woodland for public enjoyment that the UK has seen in a century. The sale ensures not just a bright future for all involved but will create a lasting and important legacy for future generations.”

UK, London

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