Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Inc. acquires The Weather Channel

Entertainment StudiosEntertainment Studios, one of the largest independent producers and distributors of film and television with nearly 160 million aggregate subscribers across the US, has acquired The Weather Group, parent company of The Weather Channel television network and Local Now streaming service. Byron Allen, founder and owner of Entertainment Studios, purchased the Weather Group through his company, Allen Media LLC, from The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, and Comcast/NBC Universal.

The Weather Channel is one of the largest cable television networks not owned by a major conglomerate and is the nation’s only 24-hour source of national storm coverage. Harris Poll has ranked The Weather Channel as the “TV News Brand of the Year” for eight years in a row. The network recently launched a community platform, weloveweather.tv, to create a two-way dialogue with fans.

Allen said, “The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and extremely important cable networks, with information vitally important to the safety and protection of our lives. We welcome The Weather Channel, which has been seen in American households for nearly four decades, to our cable television networks division. The acquisition of The Weather Channel is strategic, as we begin our process of investing billions of dollars over the next five years to acquire some of the best media assets around the world.”

USA, Los Angeles, CA & Atlanta, GA

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Future plc acquires five specialist consumer titles from Haymarket Media Group for £14M

Future plcFuture plc, the global platform for specialist media, is to acquire five specialist consumer titles from Haymarket Media Group – What Hi-Fi?, Stuff, FourFourTwo, Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome – for a consideration of up to £14 million, the majority of which is in the form of cash, with the balance in shares. The titles generated revenue of £12 million in the last financial year to June 2017. The consideration shares are subject to lock-up restrictions for three months from the date of issue.

The intended acquisition of popular brand What Hi-Fi? provides an entry into the complementary audio visual market, whilst Stuff complements Future’s existing technology brands. The acquisition of Stuff is conditional on Competition and Markets Authority approval. FourFourTwo will give Future access to the football audience during World Cup Year, whilst Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome provide a strong subscriptions proposition in the outdoor leisure market.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, said, “This acquisition is a further demonstration of our strategy to develop evergreen content that connects with communities and further diversifies our revenue streams. These titles are well established brands with strong market positions that expand and enhance our presence in existing verticals and extend our reach into new communities. We have a strong track record of integrating and leveraging acquisitions and we are confident that this deal will be earnings enhancing and drive further growth in operating profitability and cash generation.”

UK, Bath & London

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Informa publishes documents relating to recommended offer for UBM

In January Informa and UBM announced the creation of combined B2B Information Services Group through an offer for UBM by Informa.

InformaInforma has now published information on the background and reasons for the Offer, the financial benefits, Informa’s intentions and strategic plans and the actions to be taken by shareholders. They have also published a Prospectus relating to the new shares to be issued to UBM shareholders by Informa in connection with the Offer, and the application for admitting new shares to the premium segment of the Official List and to trading on the London Stock Exchange’s main market for listed securities.

The information is available on Informa’s website HERE.

UBMIn addition, UBM has published its scheme document today, which contains, amongst other things, a letter from the Chairman of UBM, the full terms and conditions of the Scheme and the Offer, notices convening the Court Meeting and the UBM General Meeting, details of the Mix and Match Facility, an expected timetable of principal events and details of the actions to be taken by UBM shareholders. The Court Meting and the UBM General Meeting will take place on the same day as the Informa General Meeting.

The Scheme Document is available on the UBM website HERE.

Completion of the Offer is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2018.

UK, London

Digital First Media acquires the Boston Herald for $11.9M

Digital First MediaDigital First Media, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States, has completed the acquisition of the Boston Herald for $11.9 million at an auction in which they outbid competitors GateHouse Media and Florida private equity firm Revolution Capital Group. The auction followed Herald publisher Patrick Purcell filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2017, citing declining revenue and readership.

Established in 1846 as a single two-sided sheet of news published by a group of Boston printers, the Boston Herald today has a circulation of 64,500, with an online following at BostonHerald.com.

Guy Gilmore, DFM’s chief operating officer, said, “DFM is pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of the Boston Herald through the next chapter of its storied history. The Herald is integral to the fabric of the great city of Boston”.

USA, Denver, CO & Boston, MA

Hatched Media acquires fellow Australian independent FRANk Media

Hatched MediaMelbourne-based independent agency Hatched Media has announced the merger and acquisition of fellow independent FRANk Media. No details of the transaction were disclosed.

FRANk Media was established in 2000 and offers communications planning, content marketing, programmatic, strategy, media buying, CRM, EDM, research, customer insight, PR, SEM, SEO, social media strategy and management, social media advertising, social media training and workshops, reporting, analytics and media planning, negotiation and buying. Owned and run by industry veteran Martyn Thomas, FRANk has transitioned all staff and clients across to Hatched to bolster the overall agency offering under the one roof.

Hatched founder and owner Jack Byrne said he has long admired Thomas and the FRANk team’s approach to its clients’ business, “Not only will their experience and strong strategic offering across communications be a welcome addition to the current offering, but culturally we are naturally aligned due to the high value we place on our people and level of care to our clients, which has ensured a seamless transition as a merged entity thus far,” he said.

Hatched will be adding FRANk’s current client list, which includes American Tourister, High Sierra, IXL Home, Lifestyle Communities, Movember, Luna Park (Melbourne), Lipault Paris, Sub Zero & Wolf, St John Ambulance (Victoria and NSW) and Sumitomo Rubber to their current list of clients, which include Automotive Brands Group, Dairy Australia, Sensis (Yellow Pages and White Pages), Fernwood Fitness, Dennis Family Homes, Strike Bowling, Henley Homes, Village Cinemas, Hairhouse Warehouse, Boost Juice, Capi Sparkling, and CBUS Property.

Australia, Melbourne

Silver Lake Partners and Battery Ventures to acquire EDR from DMGT for $205M

Silver LakeSilver Lake and Battery Ventures have agreed to acquire EDR, a leading provider of real estate data and software-as-a-service, from the Daily Mail and General Trust plc for $205m. The investors areBattery Ventures global, growth-oriented firms focused on partnerships with market-leading technology companies. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks and is subject to
customary closing conditions.

EDR is a leader in property due-diligence and risk management technology and information. The company’s solutions enable clients — including environmental consultants and engineers, appraisers, and lenders — to manage real estate due diligence processes efficiently and effectively.

Joe Osnoss, Managing Director at Silver Lake, said, ”The real estate sector is continuing to evolve with the introduction of new technologies. EDR has a rich history of thought leadership in this area, and we plan to invest behind the company’s developing product roadmap to serve its important client ecosystem.”

Battery Ventures General Partner Scott Tobin added, ”We look forward to working closely with Chris Aronson and EDR’s management team. We believe that our investment will enable EDR to accelerate growth — including in the state-of-the-art Collateral360 SaaS platform — and extend its reputation as a leader in real estate data and software with a developing range of products and services.”

UK, London & USA, Shelton, CT

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Gfinity plc acquires RealSM Limited, owner of RealSport

GFinityGfinity plc, a leading international esports entertainment group, has acquired the entire issued share capital of RealSM Limited, owner of the fan-oriented digital sports media platform, RealSport, for a total consideration for approximately £2.4 million, to be settled wholly in new shares in Gfinity. The acquisition will be paid for by issuing 12.3 million Gfinity shares at 19.317 pence each. The share price was the average closing price over the last 15 days prior to the deal being announced.

Founded in January 2016, RealSport’s platform features original content, including news documentaries, podcasts, analysis and opinions. The company has rapidly built an online user base of more than half a million active monthly users with esports currently accounting for over 40% of all traffic on its website. Gfinity will use the RealSport platform alongside its own to build the esports community.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Gfinity will integrate RealSport’s online real estate into its business operations. Gfinity will also acquire the services of the team of seven key employees including the co-founders, Roei Samuel and Scott Hurst, together with their network of contributors, who have driven the rapid growth in the RealSport digital platform.

Gfinity Chief Executive Officer Neville Upton said, ”RealSport has done a great job of building a “go-to” hub for the esports community. They have a very talented team whose expertise in building a digital community will be very valuable to Gfinity. This deal will further help Gfinity continue to drive awareness and engagement in Gfinity and Elite Series brands. We believe this will accelerate Gfinity’s plans to monetise our digital assets and will greatly increase the value of our proposition to our prospective commercial partners.”

UK, London