Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios acquires Bayou City Broadcasting for $165M

Entertainment StudiosEntertainment Studios, Inc., one of the US’s largest independent producers and distributors of film and television, with 43 shows on the air, and owner of nine 24-hour HD television networks serving nearly 160 million subscribers, has acquired Bayou City Broadcasting Evansville, Inc., and Bayou City Broadcasting Lafayette, Inc for $165 million. Founder Byron Allen is purchasing the station groups through his company, Allen Media Broadcasting LLC. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Byron Allen, who recently joined Sinclair Broadcast Group to successfully acquire the Fox/Disney 21 Regional Sports Networks for $10.6 billion, and also purchased The Weather Channel in 2018, has publicly stated he has been aggressively pursuing additional media assets to purchase. The purchase of these four Bayou City Broadcasting entities — WEVV (CBS) & WEEV (Fox) in Evansville, Indiana and KLAF (NBC) and KADN (Fox) in Lafayette, Louisiana — provides Allen’s television unit with a broader audience and strategically positions the company in broadcast and digital media.

Bayou City Broadcasting Owner/President/CEO DuJuan McCoy said, “Byron Allen is a visionary, and a brilliant entrepreneur who always gets it done. [His] companies, which exemplify excellence, are perfectly positioned to continue the strong tradition these stations have in serving their communities.”

Allen’s expansion into broadcast television is the latest step Entertainment Studios has taken in further expanding the global reach of its programming and content. The Entertainment Studios divisions now include: broadcast television network affiliates, streaming services, broadcast television syndication, production and distribution of 43 television programs, nine 24/7 HD television networks, theatrical motion picture production, acquisition and global distribution, digital movie acquisition and distribution, and global news publishing – making Entertainment Studios one of the largest privately-held media companies in the world.

USA, Los Angeles, CA & The Woodlands, TX

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Sinclair Broadcast Group to acquire 21 regional sports networks from Disney for $10.6 Billion

Sinclair Broadcast GroupSinclair Broadcast Group and The Walt Disney Company have entered into a definitive agreement under which Sinclair will acquire the equity interests in 21 Regional Sports Networks and Fox College Sports, which were acquired by Disney in its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.. The transaction ascribes a total enterprise value to the RSNs equal to $10.6 billion, reflecting a purchase price of $9.6 billion, after adjusting walt disney companyfor minority equity interests. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The RSN portfolio, which excludes the YES Network, is the largest collection of RSNs in the marketplace today, with an extensive footprint that includes exclusive local rights to 42 professional teams consisting of 14 Major League Baseball teams, 16 National Basketball Association teams, and 12 National Hockey League teams. In 2018, the RSN portfolio delivered a combined $3.8 billion in revenue across 74 million subscribers.

The RSNs will be acquired via a newly formed indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair, Diamond Sports Group LLC. Byron Allen has agreed to become an equity and content partner in a newly formed indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair and an indirect parent of Diamond. Mr. Allen, who bought The Weather Channel in 2018, is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Entertainment Studios, a global media, content and technology company.

Sinclair expects to capitalize Diamond with $1.4 billion in cash equity, comprised of a combination of approximately $0.7 billion of cash on hand and a contribution of $0.7 billion in the form of new fully committed debt at Sinclair Television Group, Inc. In addition, the purchase price will be funded with $1.0 billion of fully committed privately-placed preferred equity of a newly-formed indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair and direct parent of RSN Holding Company. The remainder of the purchase price is being funded by $8.2 billion of fully committed secured and unsecured debt incurred by Diamond. The transaction will be treated as an asset sale for tax purposes, with Sinclair receiving a full step-up in basis.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both Sinclair and Disney.

Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair, said, “This is a very exciting transaction for Sinclair to be able to acquire highly complementary assets. While consumer viewing habits have shifted, the tradition of watching live sports and news remains ingrained in our culture. As one of the largest local news producers in the country and an experienced producer of sports content, we are ideally positioned to transfer our skills to deliver and expand our focus on greater premium sports programming.”

“The transaction is expected to be highly accretive to free cash flow and brings consolidated net leverage to 4.7x and 5.1x through the preferred financing. This acquisition is an extraordinary opportunity to diversify Sinclair’s content sources and revenue streams with high-quality assets that are driving live viewing. We also see this as an opportunity to realize cross-promotional collaboration, and synergistic benefits related to programming and production.”

USA, Baltimore & Burbank, CA & Hunt Valley, MD

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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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ReedPOP acquires Florida Supercon

ReedPopReed Exhibitions’ games and pop culture live events division ReedPOP has acquired Florida Supercon, an annual convention held in Miami, Florida celebrating comics, superheroes, science fiction, anime, cartoons, video games, wrestling and all things pop culture. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Since the launch of the sold-out New York Comic Con in 2006, ReedPOP has sought to produce exceptional experiences for passionate audiences and help grow the industries surrounding those passions. Over the past two years, ReedPOP launched its first comic con in Africa, Comic Con Africa, and an all-new U.S. show, Keystone Comic Con in Philadelphia, expanding the portfolio to nearly 40 fan conventions around the world.

Lance Fensterman, Global President of ReedPOP, said, “We are thrilled with the addition of Florida Supercon to the ReedPOP family. Mike Broder [founder of Supercon] and his team have done an amazing job in making this show one that has incredible fan and industry support. We plan to spend time listening to the fans and exhibitors and then investing to build upon the awesome convention and continue to give the great fan base a fantastic experience.”

USA, Norwalk, CT & Miami, FL

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Diversified Communications acquires three North American energy events

Diversified CommunicationsDiversified Communications has acquired three North American events – Intersolar, ees (electrical energy storage) and Power2Drive North America – from German-based organisers, Solar Promotion International and FMMI. The events, co-located for the past eleven years in San Francisco in July, will move to San Diego Convention Center for February 4-6, 2020. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Since 2008, Intersolar North America has served as the industry’s go-to source for information and networking opportunities to move the North American market forward. Co-located with ees North America, Intersolar North America’s exhibition and conference sits at the cross-section of solar technology, energy storage, and smart renewable energy.

Covering the entire value chain of innovative battery and energy storage technologies, ees North America is the leading exhibition and conference for the electrical energy storage industry. ees North America connects manufacturers, distributors, users and suppliers of stationary and mobile storage products in the epicenter of the U.S. storage market, California.

Power2Drive, the special exhibition for charging infrastructure and electromobility, reflects the opportunities and the necessity of the energy transition in the transportation sector. The focus is on batteries for electric vehicles as well as charging technologies and infrastructure for clean mobility and distributed storage.

Diversified owns and operates a 1.5 Megawatt solar farm in Brunswick, Maine. Theodore Wirth, Diversified Communications’ President and CEO, said, “Our interest in solar stems from our Board of Directors; and growing our own event series in solar and energy storage is an exciting way to further contribute to the renewable energy industry”.

Diversified Communications’ Corporate Vice President of Strategy & Corporate Development, Oakley Dyer, added, “We’ve been looking to enter the solar market in a significant way for several years and have been watching Intersolar closely due to their successful worldwide footprint and sterling reputation. The time was right for both parties and we are thrilled to bring our depth of expertise in trade show operations to these exciting markets; and perhaps most importantly, bring Diversified’s enthusiasm for solar’s role in the new energy economy.”

USA, Portland, ME & Germany, Pforzheim

Future acquires Mobile Nations for up to $120M

FUTURE-logo-Future plc has acquired MoNa Mobile Nations, LLC. Mobile Nations is a US digital publisher. Its websites and apps focus on consumer electronics and help consumers to make smart choices. Mobile Nations key brands include Android Central, iMore, Windows Central and Thrifter.

Future are making an initial cash payment of $55 million, plus $5 million through the issue to the vendors of 615,166 new shares. A deferred payment of up to $60 million is payable subject to achieving financial targets based on the year ending 31 March 2020. The deferred consideration is to be split equally between cash and the issuance of new shares in Future. The total maximum consideration will be $120 million.

Mobile Nations achieved revenue of $16.4 million and EBITDA of $8.2 million in year ended 31 December 2018. Organic revenue growth was 31% and EBITDA growth 52% yoy.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, said, “This acquisition will further strengthen our market leading position in technology and extend our growing presence in the US. Mobile Nations’ consumer electronics brands, which combine content, community and commerce to deliver shopping enablement solutions, are highly complementary to our existing portfolio. We already have an established commercial relationship with Mobile Nations through its longstanding partnership with Purch, which we acquired in September 2018. The addition of Mobile Nations’ brands will deepen our presence and expand our opportunities to monetise our significant US online audience.”

UK, London & USA, St. Petersburg, FL

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