Centaur Media Plc to divest digital platform, events & financial services divisions

centaur-logoFollowing a strategic review, Centaur, the international provider of market intelligence and specialist consultancy, is accelerating the simplification of the Group’s structure to improve operational execution and to focus attention on the leading brands within its marketing division.

Centaur is looking at the potential sale of The Lawyer, which operates a digital platform to provide intelligence and analysis to the global legal market; of its events division, including the Business Travel Show, The Meetings Show, Sub Con and Employee Benefits, and of its financial services division, which includes Money Marketing, Mortgage Strategy, Platforum, Taxbriefs and Headline Money.

Andria Vidler, Centaur Chief Executive, said, “Centaur has made substantial progress this year and these appointments will help us to deliver on our strategy to create a more focused business with good opportunities to grow its revenues and margins. We will work with our advisers to explore divestment possibilities and ensure that shareholder value is maximised.”

UK, London

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Meredith sells Fortune magazine to Thai billionaire for $150M

MEREDITH CORPORATION LOGOU.S. media company Meredith Corp is selling Fortune magazine for $150 million in cash to Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon, the second time the influential business magazine has changed hands this year. Best known for the “Fortune 500” list, the magazine was acquired by Meredith as part of its acquisition of Time Inc in January for $1.84 billion.

Jiaravanon is best known for his affiliation with Charoen Pokphand Group, or C.P. Group, a business conglomerate with stakes in the Thai telecommunications, food, retail and automotive industries.

The Fortune sale is expected to close before the end of the year and it will be a personal holding of Jiaravanon. In a statement, Jiaravanon said he wants to make Fortune “the world’s leading business media brand. The demand for high-quality business information is growing and with further committed investment in technology and brilliant journalism, we believe the outlook for further profitable growth is excellent both for the publication and the events business”.

Alan Murray, who has been editor of Fortune since 2014 and previously served as chief content officer of Time Inc., is becoming president and CEO of Fortune. He wrote on Twitter that he’s “delighted to have found a buyer for Fortune that shares our mission, our independence and will invest to make Fortune grow.”

USA, New York, NY

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Skift acquires Airline Weekly

SkiftTravel industry intelligence and marketing platform Skift has acquired Airline Weekly, including its subscription-based newsletter and related assets. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 2004 by Jay Shabat, Seth Kaplan and Jason Cottrell, the publication provides insight and analysis of the commercial passenger airline industry worldwide.

Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of Skift, said, “Now that we are in our sixth year at Skift, we have been exploring various ways to expand our roots in the travel sector and go deeper into our existing focus areas with more expertise. With Airline Weekly, the Airline Innovation Report, and our global forums, Skift now offers the strongest business coverage of commercial aviation in the world”.

USA, New York, NY & Fort Myers, FL

SiriusXM to acquire music-streaming company Pandora

SiriusXMSatellite radio company SiriusXM will acquire music streaming service Pandora in a transaction valued at $3.5 billion. The proposed deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to the approval of Pandora stockholders.

The merger offers Sirius a major music-streaming asset as tens of millions of listeners turn to streaming apps in an increasingly crowded market, with Pandora enjoying the largest audio streaming audience in the U.S, according to industry estimates. Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited, have hitherto posed stiff competition.

The transaction would combine SiriusXM’s 36 million subscribers in North America with Pandora’s more than 70 million monthly active users. The two companies are expected to have combined revenue of about $7 billion this year. Pandora’s stock rose more than 3 percent in afternoon trading when the deal was announced.

Sirius XM’s chief executive Jim Meyer said of the two companies, “Together, we will deliver even more of the best content on radio to our passionate and loyal listeners, and attract new listeners, across our two platforms.” He also said his goal is to create value through subscriptions, “No matter who comes into one of our trial tunnels, no matter where they come in, our goal ought to be that as they exit that trial, somewhere somehow, they are in a funnel which we’re monetizing.”

USA, New York, NY & Oakland, CA

Emerald Expositions acquires Total Tech Summit for US$28M

Emerald ExpositionsUS event producer Emerald Expositions has announced the acquisition of leading technology event Total Tech Summit and a group of complementary technology intelligence brands from EH Media for approximately $28 million in cash.

The acquired brands have delivered impressive organic growth in recent years, driven by increases in digital revenues, now representing approximately half of total revenues, as well as solid event revenue growth. These brands are strategically aligned with Emerald’s CEDIA Expo and Connecting Point Marketing Group (CPMG) businesses, and include:

Total Tech Summit: a premier hosted-buyer event serving the residential, commercial and security integrator markets;

CEPro: a leading media brand for custom technology integrators in the residential market and the media partner of Emerald’s CEDIA Expo trade show;

Commercial Integrator: a top information source for commercial technology integrators serving small and midsize businesses;

Security Sales & Integration: a leading media brand for residential and commercial security installation contractors; and

Campus Safety: a leading media brand serving security professionals responsible for schools and academic campuses with several events and intelligence products.

David Loechner, Emerald’s president and CEO, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome the EH Media team and their highly valuable brands and assets to Emerald. Ken Moyes has built an impressive group of interconnected, technology-oriented brands that are focused on the integration of audio, video, communications, IT, security and energy management products into buildings of all types. We see a tremendous opportunity to deliver continued strong organic growth in these businesses while also achieving synergies as we integrate these brands and assets into Emerald. We believe that this acquisition, once fully integrated, will not only strengthen our existing trade shows but also expand both their relevance and growth profile in several of our key end markets.”

USA, San Juan Capistrano, CA & Framingham, MA

 Ascential acquires WARC for £24M

ascentialMedia and events business Ascential plc has acquired WARC Limited for an initial cash consideration of £19.5m, plus deferred consideration of £4.5m payable in 2019.  The acquisition is expected to complete on 2 July 2018.

WARC is a digital subscription business that helps brands, agencies and media platforms assess marketing effectiveness across all channels.  It provides information and insight to understand and measure multi-channel advertising effectiveness.  Founded in 1985, the business offers advertising best practice, evidence and insights from the world’s leading brands.  The business employs approximately 90 people with offices in London, Washington DC and Singapore and serves approximately 1,200 customers globally. 

In the year to 31 March 2018 WARC generated unaudited revenue of £10.8m (a growth of 10%) and EBITDA of £2.2m.  Gross assets at 31 March 2018 were £9.6m

Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential, commented: “Ascential enables its customers to win in the digital economy.  WARC is an important step forward as we continue to grow our digital offering, adding breadth and depth to our marketing proposition.  Alongside Cannes Lions’ The Work, our recent digital product launch, we will now have a digital subscription product of scale encompassing both creative excellence and marketing effectiveness.”

UK, London

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Keywords Studios acquires Fire Without Smoke

keywordsKeywords Studios, the technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Fire Without Smoke Ltd for up to £5.2m. 

Headquartered in London and with a studio in Montreal, Fire Without Smoke provides a suite of creative and marketing services to game publishers and developers, creating assets such as game trailers, marketing art and materials for esports events, and providing marketing consultancy and general design services to the video game industry. 

Founded in 2013, Fire Without Smoke works with major game publishers such as Sony, Square Enix, Riot Games, Deep Silver, Sega, Capcom and Ubisoft. The company has around 40 staff  working in London and Montréal

Keywords Studios is acquiring the business from the founders Will O’Connor, Michael David Thomson plus other shareholders. Will O’Connor will continue as Managing Director. David Thomson and the the rest of the team, will also remain with the business. 

For the year ending 31 May 2018, Fire Without Smoke is expected to have revenues of £2.8 million and adjusted profits before tax of £0.7 million.  Keywords Studios is paying £3.85 million in cash, £0.5m of which is deferred until the first anniversary of the acquisition and subject to performance targets, and the issue of 77,006 new ordinary shares in Keywords Studios, which will be issued to the Sellers on the first anniversary of the acquisition and will then be subject to orderly market provisions for a further 12 months.

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios commented: “Fire Without Smoke’s specialised offering represents an excellent addition to the Group’s existing capabilities and adds some exciting new services to our global service platform. Their high end video game trailers expertise will be of great interest to Keywords’ large client base, as will their broad suite of creative services, which range from marketing strategy to providing marketing content for events including esports tournaments, which can play a significant role in influencing the success of event and game launches.

Ireland, Dublin & UK, London & Canada, Montréal

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