Exponent acquires Dennis Publishing

Exponent PEExponent is to acquire Dennis Publishing, a multi-platform international media group which owns several award-winning brands including its flagship title, The Week.

Initial reports from Sky News suggested Exponent could pay between £150m and £200m, with The Week alone valued at around £100m, although the final amount was unconfirmed.

Dennis is a leading consumer media and e-commerce organisation, based in London and New York. Its portfolio consists of over 30 brands across four main areas of focus: Current Affairs, Technology, Automotive and Special Interest. In addition to The Week, it is home to several well-known brands including MoneyWeek, The Week Junior, BuyACar.co.uk, Auto Express, CarBuyer, Computer Active, Alphr.com, Cyclist and Viz, among others. Across all its brands it reaches over 50 million readers and sells over 2.5 million magazines every month.

Dennis is the first investment to be made from Exponent’s fourth fund, Exponent Private Equity Partners IV, LP.

Commenting on the acquisition, David McGovern of Exponent, said, “Dennis is a unique, innovative and dynamic publishing and e-commerce business. We believe that there is a significant opportunity to grow both its print and digital platforms, which will allow it to reach and engage even more readers and customers. Exponent is delighted to back James Tye and his team. We look forward to combining their expert knowledge with our own deep experience in consumer media and e-commerce to help further develop Dennis’ strong market positions and build on Felix Dennis’ legacy.”

Dick Pountain, on behalf of the Executors of the Felix Dennis estate, said, “The Executors of Felix Dennis’ estate are delighted to agree the sale of Dennis Publishing to Exponent. We see Exponent as excellent partners for Dennis; their track record in media is extremely strong and we have confidence in their ability to continue to grow the size and reputation of the company that Felix created almost 50 years ago.

The proceeds of this sale go to the Heart of England Forest (HoEF), a charity which Felix established during his lifetime. This endowment will enable the charity to create Felix’s ambitious vision – planting and maintaining the largest contiguous, broadleaf woodland for public enjoyment that the UK has seen in a century. The sale ensures not just a bright future for all involved but will create a lasting and important legacy for future generations.”

UK, London

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Vitesse Media to buy InvestmentNews for $27.1M

Vitesse Media plcDigital media and events company Vitesse Media is to acquire InvestmentNews, a leading source of news, analysis and information to the financial advisory community from its parent, Crain Communications Inc., for approximately $27.1 million. The deal is expected to close mid-August.

As part of the deal, InvestmentNews’ leadership team will remain intact — as will its award-winning editorial, multimedia, audience, custom, research & data, marketing, sales and event divisions.

Crain launched InvestmentNews in 1997 as a weekly magazine covering the U.S. financial advice profession. InvestmentNews has since expanded its engagement with its core audience through the launch of an award-winning website, live events and research and data offerings. Today, InvestmentNews is the No. 1 media brand in the financial advice market, with more than 150,000 weekly print readers. InvestmentNews.com garners an average of 545,000 unique visitors each month. In addition, InvestmentNews operates a growing events business, which includes the Retirement Income Summit, Woman Adviser Summit and Best Practices Workshop. It is also produces editorial and custom research relevant to advisers and the businesses that serve them.

Simon Stilwell, who was appointed CEO of Vitesse in August 2017, said, “InvestmentNews is the leading brand in its community, it fits well into the Vitesse stable and provides the company with the opportunity to pursue other bolt on opportunities to expand, especially in its events and data business. Its American presence further allows us to expand our reach geographically, a key aspect of our future strategy.”

Upon completion of the deal, Vitesse will change its name to Bonhill Group plc, subject to shareholders’ approval.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

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Anthem Publishing acquires Women’s Running magazine

AnthemAnthem Publishing has acquired the multi-award-winning Women’s Running magazine from Wild Bunch Media. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Women’s Running launched in 2010, and was named Consumer Magazine of the Year 2011 and Consumer Media Brand of the Year 2015 at the PPA Independent Publisher Awards, as well as winning four other industry awards. It’s the UK’s only running title dedicated to helping women enjoy and improve their running. The deal includes the Women’s Running website which has over 90,000 unique users per month, as well as the Facebook community of some 220,000 followers. The purchase does not affect Men’s Running, which remains a Wild Bunch Media brand.

Anthem CEO Jon Bickley said, “We’re delighted to bring Women’s Running on board at Anthem to join our emerging group of women’s wellness brands. Women’s Running is a title I’ve admired for many years for its powerfully strong editorial proposition and the unique relationship it enjoys with its readers and advertisers. We can’t wait to immerse ourselves in this market and bring the same levels of investment and focus to it that have proved successful with our own titles such as Vegan Food & Living and Colouring Heaven.”

UK, Bath & London

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American Media acquires celebrity and kids group titles from Bauer Media USA

American Media IncAmerican Media, Inc., has agreed to purchase the celebrity group and the teenage and kids group of Bauer Media USA. Details of the transaction were not disclosed but it is expected to close on or about July 1, 2018. With this agreement, AMI will take ownership of the complementary print and digital properties for the 13 brands within these two groups. Titles such as In Touch, Life & Style, Closer, J-14 and Teen Boss will round out AMI’s current portfolio.

AMI owns and operates the leading print and digital celebrity and active lifestyle media brands in the United States. AMI’s titles include Us Weekly, OK!, Star, Men’s Journal, Muscle & Fitness, Mr. Olympia Contest, National Enquirer and other celebrity titles. AMI also manages nine different digital sites including Usmagazine.com, OKmagazine.com, RadarOnline.com, MensJournal.com, MuscleandFitness.com and other digital and social properties. AMI’s magazines have a combined total circulation of 5.3+ million and reach more than 51 million men and women each month. AMI’s digital properties reach approximately 60 million unique visitors monthly.

Chairman and CEO David J. Pecker, said, “It gives me great pleasure to announce this acquisition which provides AMI with an extraordinary opportunity to further build upon the success of our entertainment group. AMI has built an award-winning portfolio of celebrity brands second to none in the industry. Our leadership team will remain focused on growth, innovation and continued disruption with today’s changes designed to further reinforce our leading position in the publishing industry and foster remarkable storytelling across all of our brands and platforms.”

USA, New York, NY & Englewood Cliffs, NJ

Trinity Mirror plc to acquire Northern & Shell’s publishing assets

Trinity MirrorTrinity Mirror is to acquire Northern & Shell‘s publishing assets for a total purchase price of £126.7 million. These comprise Northern & Shell Network Limited, a subsidiary of Northern & Shell Media Group Limited containing the publishing assets of Northern & Shell and its subsidiaries, International Distribution 2018 Limited and a 50% equity interest in Independent Star Limited.

The purchase consideration of £126.7 million will be satisfied by the payment to the Northern & Shell Media Group Limited of, in aggregate, an initial cash consideration of £47.7 million; deferred cash consideration of £59.0 million payable over 2020 – 2023; and the balance of £20.0 million by the issue to the Seller of 25,826,746 new ordinary shares of 10p each. Trinity Mirror will also make a one-off cash payment of £41.2 million to the Northern & Shell Pension Schemes and a recovery plan through to 2027 has been agreed with total payments of £29.2 million.

Northern & Shell’s publishing assets include a portfolio of newspapers and magazines which comprise four national newspaper titles (the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday) and three celebrity magazines (OK!, New!, and Star) together with a 50% joint venture interest in the Irish Daily Star, outside the UK. Northern & Shell operates a print plant in Luton, serving its portfolio of newspapers and magazines as well as providing third-party printing services.

The Express.co.uk and Dailystar.co.uk websites achieved 280 million page views in December 2017 compared to 649 million for the Trinity Mirror websites (excluding apps and galleries).

Northern & Shell’s publishing assets performed well in 2017 despite continued pressure on its print advertising revenues. Total revenues (after separation adjustments) are estimated to have marginally increased in 2017, with growth in newspaper circulation revenues (arising from the partial reversal of cover price discounting) and digital revenues offsetting declines in print advertising revenues. Adjusted EBITDA (after separation adjustments) is estimated to be circa. £34 million, benefiting from operational and strategic reductions in printing and production, marketing and other operating costs.

Simon Fox, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, said: “This deal is a really exciting moment in Trinity Mirror’s history, combining some of the most iconic titles in the UK media industry. It is good for our readers, good for our customers and good for our shareholders. Northern and Shell’s titles have a large and loyal readership, a growing digital presence and a stable revenue mix and offer an excellent fit with Trinity Mirror.”

UK, London

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Penske Media acquires controlling interest in Wenner Media and Rolling Stone

Penske Media CorporationPenske Media Corporation has acquired Wenner Media, majority owner of Rolling Stone. The multi-media brand features music reviews, in-depth interviews, political commentary and award-winning journalism across various platforms including magazine, digital, mobile, social and event marketing. The financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Since its founding in 1967 by Jann Wenner and Ralph J. Gleason, Rolling Stone has defined pop culture for generations of readers and is an iconic brand in publishing and music. Five decades later, Rolling Stone has evolved into a multi-platform content brand reaching over 60 million people per month.

Penske Media chairman and CEO Jay Penske said, “Our interest in Rolling Stone is driven by its people, its cultural significance, and the globally-recognized brand that has no peer in its areas of influence. We believe that Penske Media is uniquely qualified to partner with the Wenners to ensure the brand continues to ascend for decades across multiple media platforms.”

USA, Los Angeles, CA & New York, NY

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Media Development Investment Fund acquires majority stake in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian

MDIF Media Development Investment FundMedia Development Investment Fund, a New York-based not-for-profit investment fund for independent media in emerging markets, has acquired a majority stake in South African media company Mail & Guardian. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The restructured ownership sees M&G’s Chief Executive Officer, Hoosain Karjieker, acquire a minority stake in the business as part of a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transaction.

The Mail & Guardian is an award-winning South African title edited by Khadija Patel who was this week named as one of Africa’s leading talents by the New African magazine.

Trevor Ncube, the newspaper’s former publisher, said “My partner for 14 years, the MDIF, under the leadership of Harlan Mandel have put forward a compelling case plan that will ensure the survival of the M&G well into the future. Ownership of the M&G is equivalent to carrying a baton that gets passed on from generation to generation with just this underlying principle: Editorial independence is sacrosanct. I have often said my role over the past 25 years has been more of a custodian of a great South African asset, than an owner.”

USA, New York, NY & South Africa, Johannesburg