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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Al Jazeera Acquires Current TV

al-Jazeera-0021Qatar based Al Jazeera has acquired US cable network Current TV. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, analysts have estimated the deal could have been worth up to $500 million (Source).

Current TV was launched in 2005 by former US Vice President Al Gore and fellow Democrat Joel Hyatt centred on featuring a mixture of user generated content and original programming. With this approach the network achieved only disappointing ratings, prompting a shift towards traditional programming in 2009. Later movements towards becoming a more progressive news channel have brought typical viewer figures of around 42,000.

Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, director general of Al Jazeera, said in a statement “by acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the US, as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America.”

Al Jazeera has continued that it will eventually replace Current TV’s programming and plans to use the acquisition to create Al Jazeera America (separate from Al Jazeera English), enabling it to allow its programming to reach more than 40 million US households, compared to the 4.7 million today. Furthermore, Al Jazeera will open bureaus in the US in addition to those already existing in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, doubling its US based staff.

Qatar, Doha & US, San Francisco, CA

Dods to acquire Biteback Media Limited and Holyrood Communications Limited

imagesDods Group is to acquire Biteback Media Limited, (excluding its publishing subsidiary), and Holyrood Communications Limited from Political Holdings Limited.

The consideration payable for Biteback is £795,000 in cash. The Holyrood acquisition is to be settled by £416,806 in cash plus a further potential payment of £250,000 if certain gross profit targets are met. Biteback Media Limited publishes Total Politics, a monthly political magazine, and organises associated events. Biteback generated an EBITDA loss of £0.35 million for year to 31 December 2011 on revenues of £0.47 million. Based on the management accounts for the ten-month period to 31 October 2012 Biteback generated revenues of £0.7 million, an EBITDA loss of £0.1 million and had net assets of £0.2 million after an adjustment for intercompany loans. Holyrood is a publishing and events business based in Edinburgh, with particular focus on Scottish politics and current affairs. The acquisition of Holyrood will enable Dods to benefit from the increase in political activity in Scotland over the next two years. In the year ended 31 March 2012 Holyrood achieved revenues of £1.9 million and generated EBITDA of £0.1m.

UK, London

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Dods acquisition of the political intelligence division of DeHavilland referred to the OFT


In a statement issued today, the Board of Dods has announced that they have decided not to pursue any further the possible acquisition of the business of the DeHavilland Political Intelligence division of Emap Limited following the referral to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading.

Original story:

The acquisition by political information business Dods of the political intelligence division of DeHavilland has been referred to the competition commission.

In an announcement the board of Dods said they are ” disappointed that the acquisition of the business of the DeHavilland Political Intelligence division of Emap has been referred to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading.”

The OFT said that the evidence before them suggests that, as a result of this merger, Dods will not face sufficient competitive constraints and this could result in higher prices or less quality for UK customers procuring political intelligence services.

Political intelligence companies monitor and track political issues on behalf of customers. A wide range of companies, public and voluntary sector organisations, as well as communications and public affairs consultancies, rely on the provision of regular, accurate and timely political intelligence.

The OFT’s investigation found that the merger parties are the two largest dedicated suppliers of these services and that close competition between them is a very important tool for UK customers to benefit from competitive prices and valued services. The merger parties’ competitors are smaller in size, scale and scope. These findings were informed by the OFT’s market investigation and an extensive customer survey submitted by the merger parties.

As a result, it is the OFT’s view that removing such significant rivalry between the merger parties might substantially lessen competition and lead to higher prices, a decline in the quality of those services or both.

Given its concerns, the OFT therefore considers it appropriate for the Competition Commission to undertake a further investigation into this matter. Ali Nikpay, OFT Senior Director and Decision Maker in this case, said: “This merger would bring together by far the two largest players in the UK market. The evidence also suggests that DeHavilland and Dods are each other’s closest rivals. Based on the information before us we do not believe that this loss of competition would be compensated through expansion by smaller rivals, entry by new players or customers switching to self-supply. As such, we consider it appropriate to refer the merger to the Competition Commission for further investigation.”

Dods still intends to raise around £6.8 million to finance other growth initiatives and acquisitions, whether the deal goes ahead or not.

UK, London

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