Providence exhibits £300m bid for London Vet Show owner

Providence EquityProvidence Equity Partners , the private equity firm behind Ambassador Theatre Group, is in talks to buy exhibitions group CloserStill Media for about £300m, according to a report by Sky News.

CloserStill is being sold by Inflexion, another buyout firm, which backed the company in 2015. A significant proportion of CloserStill’s revenues come from outside the UK, with exhibitions such as Dentiste Expo in Paris and Cloud Expo Asia in Singapore among its events. The deal with Providence, which could be signed within weeks, follows the investor’s £600m sale of Clarion to Blackstone last year.

 

USA, Providence, RI & UK, London

Centaur Media Plc to divest digital platform, events & financial services divisions

centaur-logoFollowing a strategic review, Centaur, the international provider of market intelligence and specialist consultancy, is accelerating the simplification of the Group’s structure to improve operational execution and to focus attention on the leading brands within its marketing division.

Centaur is looking at the potential sale of The Lawyer, which operates a digital platform to provide intelligence and analysis to the global legal market; of its events division, including the Business Travel Show, The Meetings Show, Sub Con and Employee Benefits, and of its financial services division, which includes Money Marketing, Mortgage Strategy, Platforum, Taxbriefs and Headline Money.

Andria Vidler, Centaur Chief Executive, said, “Centaur has made substantial progress this year and these appointments will help us to deliver on our strategy to create a more focused business with good opportunities to grow its revenues and margins. We will work with our advisers to explore divestment possibilities and ensure that shareholder value is maximised.”

UK, London

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JPIMedia acquires Johnston Press Group businesses

Johnston PressJPIMedia, a newly-formed company owned by bondholders of Johnston Press, has acquired the group after the publisher put itself into administration. Johnston Press, which owns papers including the i, The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post, had been looking to refinance £220m of debt due to be repaid in June next year.

As part of the transaction, the bondholders have agreed to reduce the level of senior secured debt by £135m (more than 60%), from £220m to £85m, with extended debt maturity to December 2023. Additionally, the bondholders have provided £35m of additional funding for the business.

David King, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Group, becomes Chief Executive of JPIMedia. He said, “The sale of the business to JPIMedia is an important one for the Johnston Press businesses as it ensures that operations can continue as normal, with employees’ rights maintained, suppliers paid, and newspapers printed. We will focus on ensuring the group’s titles continue to publish the high-quality journalism we are known for and which has never been more important. I look forward to working with JPIMedia to assess and implement the opportunities available to us in the future, underpinned by a stronger balance sheet.”

UK, Edinburgh

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Touch Medical Media acquires Heart International and forms strategic partnership with Interventional Academy

TouchMedical MediaTouch Medical Media has acquired leading cardiology journal Heart International for an undisclosed sum, and formed a strategic partnership with Interventional Academy, owner of the Complex Cardiovascular Catheter Therapeutics (C3) Global Summit.

Heart International is an open access, peer reviewed journal dedicated to the publication of original research and reviews on cardiovascular disease in its broadest terms. Heart International is indexed in a number of different databases including the Emerging Sources Citation Index, Scopus and has its full archives listed on PubMed Central.

C3 is a leading global annual cardiology conference that is rapidly growing. It has been designed for physicians who specialise in interventional cardiology, vascular surgery, interventional radiology, podiatry, as well as fellows, residents, and other healthcare professionals interested in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Heart International is led by Editor-in-Chief, Dr Magdi El-Omar and Co-Editor-in-Chief, Dr Rajesh Davé. Dr Magdi El-Omar is Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at the Manchester Heart Centre, and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK, whilst Dr Rajesh Davé is Chief Medical Executive, Holy Spirit Cardiovascular Institute, Chairman, Department of Cardiology and Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories, the Ortenzio Heart Center at Holy Spirit Hospital, Camp Hill, PA, USA. Dr Davé is Chairman of C3, whilst Dr El-Omar is a co-director of the course.

Barney Kent, Group Managing Director at Touch Medical Media said, “We are really excited about the recent acquisition of Heart International, which has been in circulation since 2006, and also our partnership with Interventional Academy. The addition of Heart International to the touchCARDIO journal portfolio will give our website more depth of content, and since the Journal is indexed on all major databases, it will encourage authors to publish with us and ultimately increase the flow of high-quality open access content for our users. The acquisition has significantly strengthened our rapidly growing database of physicians who sign up to receive regular updates and in addition, our strategic partnership with Interventional Academy will be very beneficial to both organisations on a number of levels. Myself and the team here at touchCARDIO very much look forward to working with Dr El-Omar and Dr Davé to develop the Journal and our partnership over the coming years.”

UK, Reading & USA, Harrisburg, PA

THQ Nordic acquires game development studios Coffee Stain and Bugbear

THQ NordicTHQ Nordic has acquired both Coffee Stain Studios, developers of Deep Rock Galactic, A Story About My Uncle, and the Satisfactory, and Bugbear Entertainment, who created Flatout and Wreckfest. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Lars Wingefors, CEO of THQ Nordic, said, “We are creating a complementary digital native pillar to THQ Nordic. Coffee Stain is a passionate and highly competent team creating and publishing great games. After some years without major releases, the pipeline of new game releases such as Satisfactory and Deep Rock Galactic look strong. I look forward to working together with Anton Westbergh and his team in the future.”

THQ Nordic now has a sizeable array of studios and IPs, with over 55 games in active development.

Austria, Vienna, Sweden, Skövde & Finland, Helsinki

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Ascential acquires Flywheel Digital for $60M

Ascential plcGlobal specialist information and events company Ascential plc is to acquire Flywheel Digital, a leading US-based provider of managed services to consumer product companies trading on Amazon, for an initial cash consideration of $60 million plus earn out payments payable over three years.

Founded in 2014, Flywheel offers customers Amazon-specific software, tools and expertise to drive sales and brand performance across Amazon platforms by directly actioning solutions for clients. Flywheel’s proprietary platforms and processes optimise brands’ online operations, including merchandising, supply logistics and media management. Flywheel primarily serves large-scale US consumer product companies, with more than 70 customers and more than 90 staff based in Baltimore and Seattle.

The initial consideration of US$60m (subject to normal working capital adjustments) is being paid out of Ascential’s existing cash reserves using capital released from the sale of the Exhibitions business. Earn out consideration is payable in cash based on the revenue of the business for the next three years to 2021 and is expected to total between approximately US$47m and US$196m. A portion of the earn out is subject to the founders remaining in employment with the company. The total potential consideration, including both initial consideration and earn out payments, is capped at US$400m in the event that extremely stretching revenue levels are reached.

In the year ended December 2017, Flywheel grew its revenue by more than 150% and delivered unaudited profit before tax of $4.8m. It had gross assets of $23.9m at December 2017. The transaction is expected to be earnings accretive in Ascential’s current financial year.

Flywheel will report to Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential. The business will be reported as part of Ascential’s Sales segment alongside the newly integrated Edge business (comprising One Click Retail, Clavis, Planet Retail RNG and Brand View) which offers a range of insight and advisory solutions to improve performance across Amazon and other eCommerce platforms.

Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential, commented, ‘We have a clear focus on providing information and capabilities that enable our customers to succeed in the digital economy. The acquisition of Flywheel is in line with this strategy, further strengthening our offerings in eCommerce for brands navigating the digital market places, particularly Amazon.’

UK, London & USA, Seattle, WA

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UK Government tightens entrepreneurs relief rules

Philip Hammond

The Rt Hon Philip Hammond

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond today delivered his Autumn 2018 Budget.

A change to the minimum period qualifying rule for capital gains tax via entrepreneurs relief will effect the tax paid by some business owners on selling their businesses. Entrepreneurs’ relief reduces the amount of Capital Gains Tax paid on disposals of businesses, or shares in a personal company, by offering a reduced 10% tax rate on up to £10m worth of lifetime gains.

The Chancellor announced that from 6 April 2019 the minimum period throughout which the qualifying conditions for relief must be met will be extended from 12 months to 24 months. The extension of the qualifying period is designed to dis-incentivise shareholders from making a quick sale. There had been calls from both sides of the house to scrap the relief.

Read the Policy Paper for the 2018 Budget here. The details of the change to entrepreneurs relief are given in section 4.7 Enterprise Tax.

UK