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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Blue Ant acquires Saloon Media

Blue Ant MediaCanadian broadcaster, producer and distributor Blue Ant Media has acquired Toronto-based factual production company Saloon Media as part of its ongoing expansion in North America. The move will see Saloon’s CEO Michael Kot, executive producers Steve Gamester and Paul Kilback, and head of production Betty Orr join Blue Ant’s global production unit. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Blue Ant has already brought NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (LA), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney) under the unit’s control in recent years.

Saloon launched in 2013, and recent credits include the CSA-nominated series Mummies Alive for History (Canada), Smithsonian Channel (US) and Yesterday (UK). It has also worked on Tornado Hunters for CMT, coproduced See No Evil for Investigation Discovery with UK indie Arrow Media, and made Hunting Nazi Treasure for History (Canada), American Heroes Channel (US) and More4 (UK).

Sam Sniderman, Blue Ant’s EVP global production, said, ““Blue Ant Media is committed to growing its content business in both Canada and the United States. The acquisition of Saloon Media is a key step in the execution of this strategy, as their award-winning factual content and notable creative talent fit perfectly within our content growth strategy in North America.”

Canada, Toronto

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

SiriusXM to acquire music-streaming company Pandora

SiriusXMSatellite radio company SiriusXM will acquire music streaming service Pandora in a transaction valued at $3.5 billion. The proposed deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to the approval of Pandora stockholders.

The merger offers Sirius a major music-streaming asset as tens of millions of listeners turn to streaming apps in an increasingly crowded market, with Pandora enjoying the largest audio streaming audience in the U.S, according to industry estimates. Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited, have hitherto posed stiff competition.

The transaction would combine SiriusXM’s 36 million subscribers in North America with Pandora’s more than 70 million monthly active users. The two companies are expected to have combined revenue of about $7 billion this year. Pandora’s stock rose more than 3 percent in afternoon trading when the deal was announced.

Sirius XM’s chief executive Jim Meyer said of the two companies, “Together, we will deliver even more of the best content on radio to our passionate and loyal listeners, and attract new listeners, across our two platforms.” He also said his goal is to create value through subscriptions, “No matter who comes into one of our trial tunnels, no matter where they come in, our goal ought to be that as they exit that trial, somewhere somehow, they are in a funnel which we’re monetizing.”

USA, New York, NY & Oakland, CA

Comcast outbids Fox to acquire Sky in £30BN deal

Comcast CorporationThe Comcast Corporation is to acquire Sky after an unusual blind bidding auction moderated by the UK Takeover Panel saw their offer of £17.28 per share overshadow Fox’s £15.67 rival offer, for a total of £30.6 billion in cash for the entire issued and to be issued Sky share capital. The bid has already been accepted by Sky’s independent directors and shareholders now have until 11 October to decide whether to accept the recommended offer.

The acquisition ends a two-year bidding war and follows Comcast’s unsuccessful attempt to take over Fox in June, when it lost out to Disney. Sky has 26 million customers across Europe, and has backed the production of shows for Amazon, HBO and Showtime. It’s also well known for its sports broadcasting, such as its Premier League channel. Comcast will soon have a much larger international presence in these fields.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s group chief executive, said: “As part of a broader Comcast we believe we will be able to continue to grow and strengthen our position as Europe’s leading direct to consumer media company. Today’s outcome is down to the hard work of tens of thousands of people who have built and developed this business together over the last 30 years. Sky has never stood still, and with Comcast our momentum will only increase.”

USA, Philadelphia, PA & UK, London

 

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

 

Wunderman acquires Amazon-focused content and campaign agency 2Sales

WundermanWPP‘s wholly owned global digital agency Wunderman, has acquired 2Sales International S.A., an ecommerce consulting agency.

2Sales supports global brands in building their business on Amazon, and will become part of Wunderman’s global commerce offering, Wunderman Commerce. 

2Sales employs 66 people in Luxembourg and is a one-stop Amazon solution that utilises automated processes to optimise content generation, sales and promotions across eight international Amazon platforms. Clients include Acco, Columbia, Fiskars and SC Johnson.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY & Luxembourg

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