Future plc acquires SmartBrief for USD 45M

Future plc logoFuture plc has acquired SmartBrief Inc., a US-based digital media publisher of targeted business news and information for USD 45 million. The initial amount will include a cash consideration of USD 32.2 million funded from the Group’s existing debt facilities, with a further USD 12.8 million to be satisfied through the issue to the vendors of 1,027,492 new ordinary shares. The agreement also includes a deferred consideration based on certain financial targets achieved over the year ending 31 July 2020, which is subject to a cap of USD 20 million.

Leveraging proprietary technology and editorial expertise, SmartBrief delivers relevant industry news in partnership with trade associations, professional societies and corporations. SmartBrief owns a database of over 5.8 million subscribers made up of senior executives, thought leaders and industry professionals.

Founded in 1999 and based in Washington DC, SmartBrief creates and distributes more than 250 digital newsletters, allowing advertisers to target and engage with decision-makers and influencers across multiple sectors including food and travel, business, education, finance, health care, retail, tech, marketing and advertising. During 2018 Future extended its successful consumer strategy into B2B through the acquisition of NewBay Media in the US, which enabled Future to access the B2B market with several market-leading titles.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, said, “The acquisition of SmartBrief will substantially boost our presence and market position in the B2B sector and enhance our technology capabilities.”

“SmartBrief is a leading, respected provider of sector-focused newsletters and daily email briefings covering a range of key verticals. The addition of SmartBrief’s must-read information products to our portfolio will further extend the reach of our B2B operations. The acquisition will be earnings enhancing, and we have identified several exciting opportunities to leverage SmartBrief’s proprietary technology in both our B2C and B2B business.”

UK, London & USA, Washington DC, WA

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Bertram Group acquires Education Umbrella in first bolt-on acquisition under new ownership

Bertram BooksThe Bertram Group has acquired Education Umbrella, a leading supplier of books and digital learning resources, in its first strategic bolt-on acquisition under its new ownership. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Bristol-based Umbrella Education provides print and digital learning resources to schools around the world. Founded in 2011, the company has launched Education Umbrella Press, a digital publishing platform and technologies including TECbook, an online eBook system which converts books from top educational publishers into digital format and TECvideo, a video-based learning tool.

Chief financial officer of Bertram Group Nicholas Goodwin said: “We are delighted to announce Bertram Group’s strategic acquisition of Education Umbrella, a company which in a short time has grown to become one of the key players in its market. Education Umbrella is an exciting business that with sound financial backing has great potential for future development as part of Bertram Group.”

UK, Norwich & Bristol

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Incisive Media acquires Open Door Media

Incisive MediaInvestment Week’s parent Incisive Media has acquired Open Door Media Publishing Limited, publisher of Investment Europe and producer of market-leading conferences for fund selectors across Europe.

ODMP is an award-winning financial services media company that brings fund selectors and asset management companies together through its publications, digital products, and extensive portfolio of over twenty conferences across Europe. The company also publishes International Investment for the global adviser community and produces the International Fund and Product Awards, now in their nineteenth year.

Founded in 2013 by Nick Rapley (chairman) and Louise Hanna (director) through a management buyout of the Investment Europe brand from Incisive Media, ODMP has grown rapidly in five years to become a pre-eminent provider of business information and networking to the European asset management industry.

Jonathon Whiteley, CEO of Incisive Media, said, “We have known and worked with Nick, Louise and their team for many years and are excited that we are able to bring Investment Europe and International Investment back into the Incisive Media fold. This acquisition strengthens our asset management publishing and event properties and adds real depth and quality to our growing portfolio for the benefit of our readers, delegates and asset management clients.

UK, London

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THQ Nordic AB acquires Koch Media GmbH

THQ NordicTHQ Nordic is to acquire 100 percent of the share capital in Koch Media. The total consideration amounts to EUR 121 million on a cash and debt free basis, equivalent to an equity value of EUR 91.5 million. EUR 82 million will be paid in cash and financed by current cash and bank balance. The remaining part of the consideration, amounting to EUR 9.5 million will be paid by consideration shares at a price per share which is based on the volume weighted average price of the company’s shares on Nasdaq First North during the twenty trade days preceding the signing date (14th February), i.e. SEK 95.44. Thus, the consideration shares will comprise 987,965 B shares.

Koch Media is a leading, independent producer and marketer of digital entertainment products in Europe and North America with studios in Germany, the UK, and the US, and offices in several Central and Northern European cities. Koch Media’s business consists of three business areas; i) Games, which are mainly published under the Deep Silver label with several AAA-intellectual property rights such as Saints Row, Dead Island and Metro; ii) Partner Publishing, which is the leading company in this business area in Europe and iii) Film, which is a business within movies for primarily the German- and Italian-speaking territories.

Koch Media generated net sales of approximately SEK 2,548 million and adjusted EBIT of approximately SEK 296 million for the period April – December 2017. The new group generated pro forma net sales and adjusted EBIT for the period April – December 2017 of SEK 2,933 million and SEK 505 million, respectively.

Lars Wingefors, CEO of THQ Nordic, said, “Koch Media has a long history of profitability despite losses incurred from some less successful game releases. THQ Nordic is convinced that the development studios of Deep Silver as part of THQ Nordic will successfully deliver at least four ongoing AAA game projects including Metro Exodus as well as the next Volition Studio AAA release and the next Dambuster Studio AAA release, together with a number of other game development and publishing titles.”

Austria, Vienna & Germany, Planegg

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The Gores Group acquires Zmags

The Gores Group, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, has acquired Zmags Corp. through its Small Capitalization Partners investment fund. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Boston, MA, Zmags is a provider of digital publishing and eCommerce Software-as-a-Service solutions with additional offices in Copenhagen, Denmark and London. The company’s self-service platform works across all digital media including tablet, mobile, social and web channels.

“Digital experiences are rapidly evolving and The Gores Group is very excited to add a well-respected company at the forefront of that change in Zmags,” said Victor C. Otley, Managing Director for The Gores Group. “Zmags adds a unique platform for growth to our portfolio and we look forward to partnering with management and employees to continue to build on its success and enable them to better serve their customers.”

USA, Los Angeles, CA & Boston, MA