Future plc acquires Dennis from Exponent Private Equity for £300 million

Future plc has acquired media subscriptions business Dennis from Exponent Private Equity LLP, for approximately £300 million.

The titles being acquired by Future are: The Week UK / The Week US, The Week Junior UK / The Week Junior US, MoneyWeek, Kiplinger, Science & Nature, IT Pro, Computer Active, PC Pro, Minecraft World, and Coach.

The four titles not being acquired by Future – Viz, Fortean Times, Cyclist and Expert Reviews – will be retained by the Vendors.

Dennis demonstrated strong growth in its financial year to 31 December 2020, reporting revenue of £104.8m, up 12% on 2019, and adjusted EBITDA of £20.0m, up 14% on 2019. This growth has continued into 2021 with revenue growth of 16% in the twelve months ended June 2021. Gross assets as at 30 June 2021 were £210m.

Expected cost synergies are £5m per annum, to be achieved by FY2023. They represent 25% of Dennis’ FY2020 EBITDA.

The purchase price of approximately £300m is to be satisfied in cash on completion (expected on 1 October 2021), subject to normal closing adjustments. Under the terms of the acquisition, the Vendors have agreed to pay Future a minimum of £8m and a maximum of £10m within 12 months of completion.

The acquisition is being funded via the Group’s debt facility, which was increased to £600m in July 2021 via an amend and extend exercise.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, said: “I am delighted to announce the acquisition of a high-quality portfolio of Dennis’ trusted brands that will accelerate our strategy, enhance our content capabilities and bring additional geographical and vertical revenue diversification, whilst materially increasing the proportion of recurring revenues across the Group.

“The materially earnings enhancing acquisition is highly complementary to our longstanding ‘US first’ mindset and provides an attractive opportunity to scale our recently created ‘Wealth’ vertical, whilst diversifying our presence in our ‘Knowledge’ and ‘B2B Pro Technology’ verticals.

“I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to Future, and to continuing the successful execution of our strategy to generate long-term sustainable growth and attractive returns for our shareholders.”

James Tye, CEO of Dennis, said: “In the three years that the business has been owned by Exponent, Dennis has been on an incredible growth journey, delivering double digit increases in subscription revenues, a greatly increased US footprint; and significant bottom-line increases. This is a testament to the talented team at Dennis who have helped make all of this happen.

“We look forward to working with the team at Future to continue growing the reach, influence and value of all our key brands and businesses.”

UK, London

Mark Allen Group completes acquisition of 12 UKi Media magazines

Mark Allen GroupThe Mark Allen Group has acquired 12 magazines in the aviation, automotive and transport, and entertainment sectors from owner UKi Media & Events. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

They are: Business Airport International, Business Jet Interiors International, Aircraft Interiors International, Aerospace Testing International, Air Traffic Technology International, Industrial Vehicle Technology International, Traffic Technology International, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International, Vehicle Dynamics International, Railway Interiors International, Stadia and Auditoria.

The magazines will trade in a newly-formed company, MA Aviation and Auto International Limited. The 22 transferring staff, will be based in the group’s business offices in Hawley Mill, Dartford in Kent.

Chairman of the Mark Allen Group, Mark Allen, said, “I am delighted that, after five months of negotiations, we have finally completed this deal. I would like to thank owner Tony Robinson and managing director Graham Johnson for helping to navigate this difficult process to such a successful outcome. Above all, I want to compliment the staff, whom we have started to get to know, for their patience and engagement. They are a very committed and talented group and we greatly look forward to working with them.”

UK, London & Dorking

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Vivendi acquires French publisher Editis

VivendiVivendi has acquired 100% of the share capital of Editis, the second-largest French-language publishing group. The share purchase agreement with the vendor, Spanish group Planeta, was entered into on November 15, 2018, based on an enterprise value of €900 million. The French Competition Authority authorized the transaction unconditionally on January 2, 2019.

Vivendi and Editis share a recognised expertise in the development and management of rights to works of culture and the same passion for managing creativity and talent. This acquisition is a logical step in the building of a large content, media and communications group. It also marks the return of this French publishing powerhouse to a European group with a global reach.

Arnaud de Puyfontaine, Vivendi’s Chief Executive Officer, has taken on the additional role of Chairman of Editis. Pierre Conte has been confirmed as Chief Executive Officer of Editis.

Editis encompasses some fifty prestigious publishing houses (Nathan, Robert Laffont, Julliard, Plon, Belfond, Presses de la Cité, Pocket, Solar, …). With a large portfolio of internationally-acclaimed authors, 4,000 new books published each year and a catalogue of more than 45,000 titles, Editis is active in the fields of fiction, children’s books, non-fiction, graphic and illustrated books, educational & reference books. Editis employs 2,400 people.

France, Paris

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Infopro Digital to acquire B2B publisher DOCUgroup

InfoPro DigitalInfopro Digital group is to enter into the acquisition of DOCUgroup, taking a major step in its international expansion. The acquisition will be financed with additional indebtedness, available cash on hand at the group level and an equity contribution from the shareholders of Infopro Digital group. The majority shareholder of Infopro Digital, alongside management of the group, is TowerBrook. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

DOCUgroup is a leader in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in business information for the construction, architecture and real estate industries.

DOCUgroup has two main activities: Project Information, whose flagship brand is IBAU, an online subscription platform that references almost 1 million private and public real estate projects; and Product Information, with leading brands such as Heinze and Baunetz, which are digital platforms that enable architects and planners to access databases and detailed information for over 500,000 products. These platforms attract around 15 million online visits each year.

Infopro Digital also offers services to professionals in the building industry in France, Belgium and the Netherlands through Le Moniteur and Vecteur Plus.

Over 500 employees will join the Infopro Digital group, to bring the total to more than 3,200 people worldwide. DOCUgroup generates a turnover of 67 million EUR, which will allow Infopro Digital to reach a turnover of approximately 440 million EUR once the acquisition is completed.

Christophe Czajka, Executive Chairman of Infopro Digital, said,“With the acquisition of DOCUgroup, we become a truly European BtB and Data company. The share of our turnover generated outside of France increased from 14% to 35% in less than a year. Over 1,300 group employees will be based in Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, Austria, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the United States, Hong Kong, and Tunisia.”

Julien Elmaleh, CEO of Infopro Digital, added, “The DOCUgroup DNA fits perfectly with that of Infopro Digital: databases and digital platforms allowing professionals to develop their commercial activity and have detailed and high quality business information. Combined, we will have an unmatched offer for professionals in the building industry”.

France, Ile-de-France & Germany, Munich

Salesforce founder Marc Benioff to acquire Time Magazine for $190M

Time MagazineBillionaire and co-founder of Salesforce.com, Marc Benioff – along with his wife, Lynne Benioff – are to buy Time Magazine for an estimated $190 million in cash, just eight months after it was sold to Meredith Corporation. The deal could close within one month, but it must first get regulatory approval.

The Benioffs, who are purchasing the magazine personally in a the deal unrelated to Salesforce, will not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions, which will continue to be led by TIME’s current executive leadership team.

Meredith completed its purchase of Time at the end of January 2018. Soon after its completion, Meredith said it was selling Time’s news and sports brands to focus on other brands that served its core target audience: American women.

Benioff recently tweeted, “The power of Time has always been in its unique storytelling of the people & issues that affect us all & connect us all. A treasure trove of our history & culture. We have deep respect for their organization & honored to be stewards of this iconic brand”.

Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal said, “On behalf of the entire TIME team, we are very excited to begin this next chapter in our history. We can’t imagine better stewards for TIME than Marc and Lynne Benioff.”

USA, New York, NY & Des Moines, Iowa

 

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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Penguin Random House India acquires Hind Pocket Books

PenguinPenguin Random House India has acquired Hind Pocket Books, one of the oldest and most respected Hindi language publishers in the country.

Established in 1958, Hind Pocket Books are widely considered as pioneers in publishing Hindi and Urdu paperbacks in India, and have an extensive list of critically acclaimed and commercially successful titles. They have published some of the most renowned authors from the subcontinent and across the world, including Amrita Pritam, Shivani, Acharya Chatursen, Gulshan Nanda, Narendra Kohli, Khushwant Singh, R K Narayan, Dr Radhakrishnan, Dominique Lapierre, Osho, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ruzbeh Bharucha, Wayne Dyer, to name a few, and their titles and authors have won several prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, the Sahitya Akademi Awards, and the Jnanpith Award.

Markus Dohle, Chef Executive Officer Penguin Random House said, “We are thrilled to welcome Hind Pocket Books to the Penguin Random House global family of publishers. Our operations in India have been a success story for us, and this acquisition represents our commitment to expand our local-language publishing as we continue to implement our global strategy of growing in our key markets such as India”.

India, Haryana & New Delhi

 

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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Karger Publishers acquires Health Press Ltd

KargerThe medical and scientific publishing company Karger has acquired the information service Health Press Ltd, in a move to strengthen its clinical decision support business. This acquisition complements Karger’s German-based activities in translating knowledge from scientific research to clinical practice. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Health Press Ltd is an award-winning, multi-platform information service for the medical community, providing premium content to improve medical practice. Founded by Sarah Redston in 1993, Health Press has since established three brands: the medical handbook series Fast Facts, illustrated guides to medical conditions and concerns Patient Pictures, and the consumer web product http://www.embarrassingproblems.com. All three brands serve the goal of promoting health through communication with a global network of medical practitioners and patients.

Daniel Ebneter, CEO of Karger Publishers, said, “This acquisition is a perfect addition to Karger and fully supports our strategy. It provides us with the opportunity to expand our clinical decision support business to the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and, more generally, English-speaking audiences worldwide”.

Switzerland, Basel & UK, Abingdon

Groupe Lexis Media acquires 12 Transcontinental Media publications

Lexis MediaGroupe Lexis Media has acquired 12 of Transcontinental Inc.‘s publications, as well as their related web properties, with 75 employees of these various publications and 16 employees from TC Media’s Production team being transferred to the buyer. With the completion of this transaction, 60% of the publications included in the sale process of TC Media’s local and regional newspapers in Quebec and Ontario, launched in April 2017, are now in the hands of local owners. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Transcontinental is Canada’s largest printer with operations in print, flexible packaging, publishing and digital media and has more than 7,000 employees in Canada and the United States, and revenues of C$2.0 billion in 2016. Their mission is to create products and services that allow businesses to attract, reach and retain their target customers.

The newspapers acquired by Groupe Lexis Media are: Le Citoyen Rouyn-Noranda, Le Citoyen de la Vallee-de-l’Or, L’Echo Abitibien and La Frontiere, distributed in Abitibi-Temiscamingue; L’Action D’Autray, L’Action – Wednesday Edition, L’Action – Weekend Edition, L’Express Montcalm and Hebdo Rive-Nord, in Lanaudiere; Le Bulletin, La Petite-Nation and La Revue, in Outaouais.

Mr. Frederic Couture, President of Groupe Lexis Media, said: “Since its beginnings, Lexis Media has carved out a prominent position for itself in the media industry by bringing on a passionate editorial team and collaborators, and highly professional sales representatives. We intend to carry on this tradition as we confidently embark on this new phase of our development.”

Canada, Montreal & St-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec