CloserStill acquires majority stake in Masie Productions’ “Learning Conference”

CloserStillCloserStill Media, the London-based exhibition and conference organiser, has entered a joint venture with Masie Productions to produce future editions of the Learning Conference in Orlando. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Learning Conference draws around 2,000 delegates from the technology and corporate learning sectors each year and more than 40 commercial sponsors in the learning and technology field. In 2017, former First Lady Michelle Obama and actor John Lithgow were keynote speakers and Leslie Odom Jr., author of “Failing Up”, and star of Broadway hit musical Hamilton and author Dan Pink will head the international speaker faculty of ‘Learning 2018’ in November.

Elliott Masie is among the most well-known figures in the global eLearning industry. He is founder of the Masie Center, an international learning lab, and chair of The Learning Consortium, a 20 year old collaboration of Fortune 500 companies. Under the new partnership with CloserStill, Masie will continue to lead the programme curation and act as host for the Learning Conference for the new JV company – CSM Learning, LLC.

A new focus on disruptive technologies will form part of Learning 2018, with the introduction of Tech @Learning – a multi-strand content programme focussing on adaptive learning, artificial intelligence and machine learning, emerging assessment technologies, chatbots, immersive realities, edTech and venture innovations.

CloserStill’s Learning Group Director, Mark Penton, said: “We are thrilled and honoured to be working with Elliott and his team. Elliott is an innovator and a disruptor and we feel that our combined global experience in the learning world will make for a very exciting new era for the Learning Conference which we have long admired and respected”.

UK, London & USA, Saratoga Springs, NY

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AgriBriefing rumoured to be up for sale

AgriBriefingBetaville is reporting that agribusiness media, price reporting and intelligence company AgriBriefing is about to be sold by its private equity owners, Lyceum Capital.

AgriBriefing creates and sells prices for eggs, red meat and animal feed and publishes the Farmers Guardian. The company also runs Britain’s largest farm machinery and equipment show – Lamma.

Reports suggest that Lyceum is unlikely to begin a sale process until later this year or early 2019 as it has just appointed Raymond James to carry out a strategic review.

UK, London

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Supercell Invests $5M in Redemption Games

Supercell FinlandFinland-based game company Supercell has made its first American investment with a $5 million minority stake in Redemption Games, an innovative game development studio in Carlsbad, California. Supercell is known for hit mobile gaming titles “Hay Day,” “Clash of Clans,” “Boom Beach,” and “Clash Royale.”

The investment is for a minority stake in Redemption Games, which will continue as an independent studio with full control of its operations, and is not part of a publishing relationship, but rather to support the development of new intellectual property and to bring it to market. Witz and Dan Lin, co-founders of Redemption, worked together for 20 years, collaborating for 10 of those in mobile gaming. They sold their prior company, Mob Science, to Jam City (previously SGN) in Los Angeles where they led the design and development of the top grossing game “Cookie Jam”.

Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen, said, “In our investments, we are always looking for the best teams with great culture. Redemption Games has an amazing team of experienced developers, who have a solid track record and true passion for making great puzzle games. We’ve been impressed by their craftsmanship and distinctive approach to game development. This is our first investment outside of Europe and we couldn’t be more excited to partner up with the Redemption Games team.”

Finland, Helsinki & USA, Carlsbad, CA

Bauer Media acquires three homes titles from News Corp

Bauer Media GroupThe Bauer Media Group has acquired magazines Inside Out and Country Style and Homes website HomeLife.com.au from News Corp. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The titles join Bauer’s existing suite of Homes magazines, which are Real Living, Australian House and Garden and Belle. These offerings are complemented by the publisher’s Homes to Love digital platform for this category.

The general manager for publishing at Bauer Media, Fiorella Di Santo, said, “We’re thrilled to bring Inside Out, Country Style and HomeLife.com.au to Bauer. Although we already have a strong position in the Homes category, this acquisition is a natural fit for us in terms of further deepening our category specialisation. We will now be part of the entire customer Homes journey, no matter what budget, geographical area or aesthetic.

Bauer CEO Paul Dykzeul said, “We are extremely pleased to announce this news as it’s a key milestone in delivering against our core strategic priorities, our strategic business growth and our commitment to invest in deep category specialisation. It is the first acquisition for Bauer in Australia since we bought beautyheaven in 2015, and it signifies our position of leadership as subject matter experts in this category.”

Germany, Hamburg & USA, New York, NY

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CRU Group acquires Steel Market Update

CRU GroupCRU Group, the metals, mining and fertilizer consultancy, has acquired the US-based Steel Market Update conference, training and newsletter business. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2008, Steel Market Update provides and analyses real-time pricing, market trends, and relevant information related to the North American flat rolled steel market through its newsletter, website and events.

Robert Perlman, Chairman of CRU, said, “We are delighted to be joining forces with John and his team. Our businesses have a shared commitment to independent and insightful coverage of the steel market. CRU’s global position will be greatly strengthened by SMU’s coverage of North America. The SMU brand will go from strength to strength under the CRU umbrella.”

UK, London & USA, Hobe Sound, FL

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Warburg Pincus invests in Reorg Research

Warburg PincusWarburg Pincus has acquired a controlling stake in Reorg Research, an industry-leading provider of real-time news, commentary, and analysis on issues affecting the distressed debt, event-driven and leveraged finance markets. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2013 by former distressed debt investor Kent Collier, Reorg leverages powerful proprietary technology to collect data in real-time and apply machine learning and natural language processing to filter the information, all in one easy-to-find place. The company also has a dedicated team of experts comprised of journalists, former lawyers and investment bankers that leverage Reorg’s proprietary technology to deliver industry-leading editorial content. Reorg currently has a suite of six SaaS-based products, each with a distinct value proposition, that a diverse and loyal global client base – including leading hedge funds, investment banks, law firms and financial advisors – uses to make better business and investment decisions.

This latest deal reflects heightened investor interest in providers of specialist content; the agreement follows Fitch Group’s purchase last week of Fulcrum Financial Data, a rival distressed-debt research firm whose publications include Covenant Review and LevFin Insights. In 2017, BC Partners sold a minority stake in Acuris, which publishes the trade publications Debtwire and Mergermarket, at a valuation of £1bn. Blackstone earlier this year bought a majority stake in Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk at a valuation of $20bn.

Kent Collier, the distressed-debt investor and blogger who launched Reorg in 2013, said, “Data is compounding at a geometric rate around the world and there is too much of it to be analysed by editorial talent alone”.

Chandler Reedy, Managing Director at Warburg Pincus, said, “Kent is a unique talent, and he and his team have built a highly differentiated business and technology platform with team of experts that synthesize and analyze real-time, mission-critical information highly sought by their customers. As the clear market leader with a proven growth model across multiple products and geographies, we believe Reorg is exceptionally well positioned for continued growth.”

USA, New York, NY

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Fitch Group acquires Fulcrum Financial Data

Fitch GroupFitch Group, a unit of Hearst, is to acquire Fulcrum Financial Data, the provider of leveraged finance and distressed debt analysis, news and data, from Leeds Equity Partners. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Fulcrum Financial Data includes financial news brands such as Covenant Review, LevFin Insights, CapitalStructure and PacerMonitor, and will become part of the group’s Fitch Solutions division. Fitch Solutions provides credit and macro intelligence, and is the primary distributor of Fitch Ratings content. Fulcrum CEO Steve Miller will continue to lead the business, reporting to Dr. Ranjit Tinaikar, President of Fitch Solutions.

Paul Taylor, President and CEO of Fitch Group, said, “Fulcrum’s leveraged and distressed debt expertise is a strong complement to our Fitch Ratings business, where we already have great presence and momentum in these markets. Adding such influential brands as Covenant Review and LevFin Insights reinforces Fitch’s role as a leading source of information, insights and tools for leveraged finance market participants.”

USA, New York NY

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