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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Dennis acquires Kiplinger

Dennis PublishingDennis Publishing has acquired Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc., publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice available in print and online. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Kiplinger, founded in 1920 in Washington, D.C. and run by three generations of the Kiplinger family, publishes the largest paid-subscription publications in several financial fields: the weekly Kiplinger Letter, the biweekly Kiplinger Tax Letter, the monthly Kiplinger’s Retirement Report and the monthly Kiplinger’s Investing for Income. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, its most widely read product, has a 600,000-circulation monthly magazine and was first published in 1947, The Kiplinger.com website has around four million unique visitors and 30 million page views per month.

James Tye, Group CEO of Dennis, said: “Kiplinger is everything we look for in a business: It is blessed with strong brands that have developed a high degree of trust with their readers, allied to a vibrant, growing digital business. Kiplinger is run by an experienced leadership team that understand the value of authoritative and concise information in the finance category as well as the key role the various Kiplinger brands play in delivering excellent results for its advertising clients.”

Tye continued: “Kiplinger is a great fit for Dennis. It expands our presence into the finance category, an area we already have an impressive footprint in with the The Week and MoneyWeek. It is also a business with strong, recurring, subscription revenues; Dennis stands out as a company that is built around brands that readers trust and want to buy. I look forward to working with Denise Elliott and her talented team to keep growing the relevance, reach and revenues of the Kiplinger business.”

Denise Elliott, Senior VP and Chief Operating Officer at Kiplinger, will step up to run Kiplinger as CEO from the company’s Washington DC headquarters and will become part of the Dennis leadership team.

Knight Kiplinger, 71, will remain Chairman of KWE’s former parent, Outlook, Inc., and will serve as an informal advisor to Kiplinger and Dennis on editorial content, with the title of Editor Emeritus. None of Outlook’s real estate holdings in Maryland and Martin County, Fla., are part of the transaction, and will continue to be owned and managed by the Kiplinger family.

Dennis, with its US headquarters in Washington, was acquired by private equity firm Exponent in October 2018. Kiplinger is the first acquisition that Dennis has made in the US since it changed ownership. Dennis already owns The Week based in New York.

UK, London & USA, Washington, DC

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Comcast acquires cybersecurity developer BluVector

Comcast Corporation logoThe Comcast Corporation has acquired BluVector, a company that uses advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide cybersecurity protection to companies and government agencies. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With a proprietary machine-learning engine, BluVector detects, analyses, and contains a wide range of sophisticated cyber-threats including “fileless malware,” zero-day malware and ransomware. BluVector has won a wide array of cybersecurity industry awards and recognition for its innovation and unique technological approach. It is a trusted partner to both Fortune 500 companies and large government agencies working to tackle some of the nation’s most critical challenges. The two companies will work together to grow BluVector’s existing business and also collaborate on the development of new cybersecurity technologies.

Don Mathis, General Manager of Growth at Comcast, said, “BluVector is a global leader in leveraging AI and machine learning to defend against advanced cyber threats. We’re thrilled that BluVector is part of Comcast and are excited to support its continued growth, even as we explore new opportunities to leverage BluVector technology and expertise.”

Eric Malawer, a veteran leader with more than two decades of experience in data analytics, artificial intelligence, national intelligence and digital security, has been named CEO of BluVector and will lead the company as it continues to grow its business as part of Comcast. Malawer previously served as cybersecurity staff director for the House Committee on Homeland Security, and prior to his role at BluVector, he launched three AI and security companies. BluVector founding CEO Kris Lovejoy, who recently left to assume another role, will continue to serve as an advisor and consultant to BluVector and Comcast.

USA, Philadelphia, PA & Arlington, VA

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