Mediahuis to acquire Irish newspaper group INM for GBP 125.7M

MediahuisEuropean media group Mediahuis has agreed to buy Ireland’s largest newspaper group, Independent News & Media, for GBP 125.7 million in its first major deal outside Belgium and the Netherlands. Under the terms of the acquisition, INM shareholders will receive 10.5 cents (9p) per share.

INM publishes the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent, the Sunday World, The Herald, the Belfast Telegraph and other regional newspapers, accounting for more than 50% of the daily market and over 65% of the Sunday market in the Republic of Ireland.

Privately-owned Mediahuis, which sells more than 1.4 million newspapers a day in The Netherlands and Belgium including the De Telegraaf and De Standaard titles, said it saw a big potential in improving the Irish company’s online business. Founded in 2013, Mediahuis has grown rapidly through acquisitions and has a track record of combining innovative journalism with digital subscription services and paywalls.

Mediahuis chairman Thomas Leysen said, “We have the resources and the capabilities to further the digital transformation and enhance the digital capabilities of INM. We think it’s a good match”.

Belgium, Antwerp & Ireland, Dublin

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S4 Capital acquires film studio Caramel Pictures and programmatic business ProgMedia

S4 CapitalMartin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has continued to expand the capabilities of its creative digital content production company MediaMonks and its programmatic consultancy MightyHive with the addition of two businesses.

MediaMonks has purchased food and liquids film studio Caramel Pictures, based in Amsterdam, for an undisclosed cash sum.

Broadening MediaMonks’ content studio’s capabilities, the purchase of the globally-operated studio adds directors, specialist crews, studio, robotic equipment and over 25 years of experience in digital photography and film for FMCG brands.

Caramel Pictures’ clients include Heinekin, KFC, KitKat, Lays, Magnum and Senseo, as well as FMCG companies such as Coca-Cola, Danone, Nestlé and Unilever.

MightyHive has merged with ProgMedia, a Sao Paulo-based programmatic consultancy founded two years ago by ex-Google employees Bruno Rebouças and Natalia Fernandes.

ProgMedia will become MightyHive’s Latin American base, helping the consultancy capture market opportunity and extend its capabilities in the world’s fourth largest market. The South American consultancy currently employs 27 people and its clients include iFood and Serasa Consumidor.

Consideration for ProgMedia will be half cash and half in S4 Capital ordinary shares, which will have a two-year restriction on sale. A completion payment will be made based on the audited accounts for 2018 and a further payment will be made based on achieving the targeted earnings before EBITDA for 2019, as soon as the audited accounts are available.

S4 Capital executive chairman Sir Martin Sorrell said that these two additions were in line with S4 Capital’s recently announced strategic imperatives. He added, “Client interest in our purely digital, first party data, always-on 24/7 programmatic model is frenetic. These two further strategic moves in the premium quality, digital content area and programmatic in Latam deepen and broaden that powerfully attractive offer.”

UK, London, NL, Amsterdam & Brazil, São Paulo

DVV to acquire Centaur’s HR portfolio for £5M

DVV Media InternationalDVV Media International Ltd is to acquire Centaur Human Resources Ltd from Centaur Media PLC for £5 million. The deal is expected to complete at the end of April.

The sale of the HR business follows the recent disposals of Centaur’s financial services business, including brands such as Money Marketing and Mortgage Strategy, and its travel and meetings exhibitions, including the Business Travel Show and the Meetings Show, which will raise in aggregate £14.25 million. The company announcement reported that negotiations for the sale of other businesses are continuing.

centaur-logoThe portfolio of products includes the website and exhibition covering the employee rewards and benefits sector, Employee Benefits; along with the Forum for Expatriate Management, a service for companies with overseas employees.

“This is a very significant acquisition for our business,” said DVV Media International Managing Director Andy Salter. “Building on the strength of our existing Personnel Today brand, the new additions to the portfolio substantially increase our offering to the HR and recruiter services sector. Both Employee Benefits and the Forum for Expatriate Management have a powerful reputation. This is a perfect fit and we are looking forward to working with the new teams to develop our portfolio further.”

The Centaur HR portfolio consists of the following brands and activities:

  • EmployeeBenefits.co.uk: Digital resource for the UK’s reward and benefits industry, supplying news, analysis and research.
  • Employee Benefits Live: Dedicated reward and benefits exhibition with around 2000 visitors and 100 exhibitors and a comprehensive conference programme.
  • Employee Benefits Connect: Conference for senior reward and benefits decision makers.
  • Forum for Expatriate Management: Worldwide community for global mobility professionals. FEM serves the sector through 3 Confex and Awards events (US, APAC, EMEA), a European Confex, research reports, and through the provision of information and news online.

DVV’s current HR brands and events include Personnel Today, Personnel Today Awards, Personnel Today Jobs, Occupational Health & Wellbeing, WhatMedia and the RAD Awards.

All staff currently employed at Centaur Human Resources are expected to remain with the business and the company will remain in central London at DVV’s office there.

UK, Sutton & London

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DVV Media International

Centaur Media

Keywords Studios acquires Wizcorp

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Wizcorp Inc. for JPY 120 million from Ankama SAS and Silicon Studio Corporation (the “Sellers”).

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Wizcorp develops games on behalf of others mainly in the mobile space, with particular expertise in HTML5 and other mobile technologies.  Wizcorp was established in 2008 and has provided game development as a service to a wide variety of Japanese publishers and developers such as LINE, Square Enix, Avex, Yahoo Japan, and Bandai Namco, as well as undertaking game development for its parent company, Ankama.

Wizcorp’s 35-person strong team, led by CEO Guillaume Hansali, is made up of software engineers and artists from around the world. With annual revenues of JPY 310m, it is well established in the fast-paced Japanese mobile development market.

The business has not made a profit under its existing ownership structure. Keywords expect it to be able to achieve margins at similar levels to Keywords’ existing Engineering Service line once it builds scale and is aligned with their existing operations.

Christopher Kennedy, Regional Managing Director – Asia of Keywords Studios commented: “We look forward to replicating the success of our previous transaction with our long-standing client, Ankama, which saw us acquire their 23 people strong captive player support operation in Manila in March 2016 before building it into a multi-client player support hub that now employs 700 people. We see a strong opportunity to accelerate Wizcorp’s growth by building on its existing services for some of Ankama’s game development needs and providing it with opportunities to work with Keywords’ extensive client base.”

Ireland, Dublin and Japan, Tokyo

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Vox Media acquires Epic Magazine and Epic Digital

Vox MediaVox Media has acquired Epic, which includes Epic Magazine, the nonfiction publisher, and its sister company Epic Digital. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Epic, which has over 40 film and TV projects currently in development and has a first-look deal with 21st Century Fox, will remain an independent division within Vox Media Studios.

Epic was founded six years ago by journalists Josh Davis and Joshuah Bearman in an effort to publish “true stories that get noticed,” according to the company. Epic works with Fortune 500 companies like Google and IBM to provide brand insights and their first television show, Little America, is forthcoming on the new Apple streaming service later this year.

Marty Moe, President of Vox Media Studios, said, “In Epic, I see not only a company known for sophisticated, character-driven work, but also a group of innovators who, like Vox Media, set out to build a new business model to sustain great storytelling — for the benefit of both consumers and brands. With the distribution power and infrastructure that Vox Media has honed over the past decade, Epic’s important work will entertain and inform more fans than ever before.”

Current projects include “Little America,” the anthology series coming to Apple’s streaming service; a film about the Silk Road drug empire scripted by the Coen brothers; the forthcoming feature film “King of the Jungle,” starring Seth Rogen and Michael Keaton, based on the Wired article by Davis; and a film that will center on John DeLorean, with George Clooney set to direct.

USA, Washington DC, WA & Los Angela, CA

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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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