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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DVV to acquire RBI aviation conferences

DVV Media InternationalDVV Media International is to acquire the publishing activities and conferences in the aviation sector from Reed Business Information, part of the Cirium risk and business analytics market segment of RELX. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

The portfolio includes the magazine brands Flight International and Airline Business, the daily news, views, analysis and other publishing activities at international air shows, including Flight Daily News and Flight Evening News, a portfolio of aviation conferences and awards, including The Airline Strategy Awards, other publishing activities such as FlightJobs, and the websites supporting these publishing activities.

Cirium enables customers to provide the finance for fleets, build and maintain aircraft, efficiently transport passengers and improve traveller experience, and its focus is to drive targeted, profitable and informed decisions. Cirium will continue as part of R&BA, reflecting its strategic priority of focusing on data and analytics.

DVV is owned by German newspaper publisher Rheinische Post and has acquired a number of businesses previously owned by RBI, such as Personnel Today, Railway Gazette International, Commercial Motor and Motor Transport. The portfolio will join DVV’s complementary Air Cargo News brand to substantially increase DVV’s offering to the aviation sector.

Andy Salter, Managing Director of DVV, said, “This is a significant step forward for our organisation. The new portfolio means we now have a comprehensive offering across all modes of the transport and logistics business information sector. We are all looking forward to working with the new team to build on the legacy of these products and develop a thriving market offering.”

UK, Sutton & London

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Easyfairs acquires Aesthetics Media

EasyfairsGlobal exhibition organiser Easyfairs has acquired the Aesthetics Media portfolio, which includes the Aesthetics Conference & Exhibition (ACE), the Aesthetics journal print and digital platform and the Aesthetics Awards. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With a complementary event, Clinical Cosmetic Regenerative (CCR), already in its stable, the acquisition is set to make Easyfairs the leading media provider to suppliers in the UK aesthetics sector.

Matt Benyon, Head of Easyfairs UK & Global, said, “We can now offer customers a phenomenal breadth of products and unparalleled opportunities to engage with aesthetics professionals – it’s a true 360-degree offering. This latest acquisition demonstrates, once again, our commitment to constantly invest in and develop our core markets. Companies in the aesthetics sector often have very different approaches, products, budgets and strategies. We recognise this fact and are utterly focused on meeting all of their needs, helping them prosper and grow. We are now incredibly well equipped to do just that.”

ACE is timed for Spring and aimed at healthcare professionals who practise medical aesthetics, such as dentists, doctors and nurses.

The combined exhibitions, awards and publication will be managed by Easyfairs UK & Global business, with the entire Aesthetics Media team joining Easyfairs as part of the acquisition.

In 2018 Easyfairs was named Belgium’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year®’ and the company is ranked 18 in the world’s leading exhibition companies.

Easyfairs currently organises more than 218 events in 17 countries and employs 750 people and generates revenues exceeding €157m for its financial year 2017-2018.

Belgium, Brussels & UK, London

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IHS Markit and Informa exchange business units

IHS MarkitFinancial data company IHS Markit and Informa, the international exhibitions, events, information services and scholarly research group, have exchanged the majority of the IHS Markit Technology, Media and Telecoms intelligence business for Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence Informa plcgroup.

The agreement values the two exchanged businesses at equivalent EBITDA multiples, with Informa contributing an additional $30 million cash to IHS Markit to reflect the larger EBITDA contribution from the TMT business. IHS Markit will retain RootMetrics, its benchmarking business and a portion of its market intelligence business. Both transactions are expected to close in July 2019 and are subject to customary closing conditions, including US regulatory approval.

IHS Markit confirmed that the transaction will not affect its capital allocation strategy to delever its debt ratio below 3.0x and complete USD 500 million in share repurchases in 2019.

Lance Uggla, CEO of IHS Markit said, “The Informa Agribusiness Intelligence portfolio is a clear extension of our Chemical and Downstream businesses and builds our existing data, pricing, insights, forecasting and news services within our Resources segment. Agriculture is the largest end chemical market in the world and this transaction expands our capabilities into fertilizers and chemical crop protection, while substantively expanding our capabilities in biofuels.”

UK, London

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Immediate Media Co acquires majority stake in River Street

Immediate Media CoSpecial interest content and platform company Immediate Media Co has acquired a majority stake in River Street Events Ltd, a producer of consumer food and gardening events/festivals in the UK. The deal sees Immediate acquire the remainder of the business in late 2020. No further details of the transaction were disclosed.

Established in 2013, River Street Events produces some of the UK’s most successful consumer events – including the live events for BBC Good Food Show and BBC Gardeners’ World Live – attracting over 250,000 visitors a year.

This deal further strengthens Immediate’s events capabilities, following the recent acquisition of Upper Street Events, providing exciting further potential growth opportunities in the live consumer events market.

River Street Events founder Laura Biggs will remain group managing director until the end of 2020, working alongside Immediate’s Managing Director of Live Events, Paul Byrom.

Immediate Media CEO Tom Bureau said, “We’ve identified live consumer events as an important growth area for Immediate, focused around our high value special interest communities and aligned with our portfolio of market-leading brands.

“Our investment into River Street, who we know well through our partnerships with BBC Good Food Live and BBC Gardeners’ World Live, fits perfectly with this strategy, as we continue to accelerate our multiplatform transformation across print, digital, TV and, now, live events. I’m delighted that we will be working with Laura and her team to continue to build this fantastic business.”

UK, London & Kingston upon Thames

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ION Investment Group to acquire a controlling stake in Acuris

AcurisION Investment Group is acquiring a controlling stake in Acuris, a global provider of proprietary financial intelligence, data and analytics, from BC Partners and GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, the FT quoting “three people with direct knowledge of the deal” describe it as a £1.35bn deal. BC Partners and Acuris management are reinvesting and will retain minority ownership.

The Company, then named Mergermarket, was founded in 1999 and acquired by Pearson in 2006 for £101 million plus a subsequent earn-out. In 2015 Mergermarket was acquired by BC Partners from Pearson plc for £382 million. GIC acquired a 30% stake from BC Partners on 2017.

Previous reporting

With nearly 1,500 employees in 66 different locations worldwide, Acuris provides proprietary insights and analytics across six key financial areas: fixed income, transactions, equities, compliance, infrastructure and research. Acuris’ differentiated content and products, including Mergermarket, Debtwire and several others.

Andrea Pignataro, ION’s CEO and Founder said “Acuris’ leading position in financial intelligence, data and analytics is highly complementary to ION’s business. Together, ION and Acuris will continue to deliver innovative, differentiated intelligence and solutions to financial institutions and corporations. We are looking forward to partnering with BC Partners to support the company’s growth and development.”

UK, London

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