JPIMedia acquires Johnston Press Group businesses

Johnston PressJPIMedia, a newly-formed company owned by bondholders of Johnston Press, has acquired the group after the publisher put itself into administration. Johnston Press, which owns papers including the i, The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post, had been looking to refinance £220m of debt due to be repaid in June next year.

As part of the transaction, the bondholders have agreed to reduce the level of senior secured debt by £135m (more than 60%), from £220m to £85m, with extended debt maturity to December 2023. Additionally, the bondholders have provided £35m of additional funding for the business.

David King, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Group, becomes Chief Executive of JPIMedia. He said, “The sale of the business to JPIMedia is an important one for the Johnston Press businesses as it ensures that operations can continue as normal, with employees’ rights maintained, suppliers paid, and newspapers printed. We will focus on ensuring the group’s titles continue to publish the high-quality journalism we are known for and which has never been more important. I look forward to working with JPIMedia to assess and implement the opportunities available to us in the future, underpinned by a stronger balance sheet.”

UK, Edinburgh

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Penske Media acquires ARTnews & Art in America

Penske Media CorporationPenske Media Corporation has acquired leading art publications ARTnews and Art in America as part of the overall acquisition of Art Media Holdings LLC, the largest independent art publishing group that also includes The Magazine ANTIQUES and MODERN Magazine. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

ARTnews, founded in 1902 and winner of over 40 major journalism awards, is the most highly circulated contemporary art magazine in the world. ARTnews is a resource for leaders of the international art world, with digitally led news coverage from its global correspondents, investigative reports, reviews of exhibitions, and profiles of artists and collectors.

Since its founding in 1913, Art in America provides artists, curators, and collectors in the US and around the world with informed analysis of the world’s most important art movements.

PMC Chairman and CEO Jay Penske said, “For more than a century ARTnews and Art in America have been leaders in breaking news and commentary on the art world. To welcome these fine publications, whose editorial heritage I have long admired, is not only a remarkable opportunity but also a great honor. This purchase continues PMC’s strategy of investing in businesses with great vertical depth, and we plan to rapidly build upon their editorial foundation while extending their presence across the web, video, and international markets.”

USA, New York, NY

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DC Thomson Media acquires Aceville Publications

DC Thomson MediaDC Thomson Media has announced the acquisition of independent magazine publisher Aceville Publications. Headquartered in Dundee, DC Thomson Media has been publishing for over 100 years and has a portfolio of more than 20 magazines, including the much loved brands The People’s Friend and Beano. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Aceville Publications is one of the fastest-growing publishing houses in the UK and home to over 40 in-house brands including the leading UK-based craft titles to gardening, health and food publications. This is complemented by a growing B2B portfolio.

Chief executive officer at DC Thomson Media, Mike Watson, said,“We’re excited to have acquired Aceville and are looking forward to working together. The team at Aceville, and their portfolio, are a great fit for our business and this collaboration opens up a host of opportunities for both businesses. This is a hugely exciting time for everyone at DC Thomson Media and Aceville. This acquisition will materially change our landscape and is a key step in our Protect, Launch, Diversify strategy.”

UK, Dundee & Colchester

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

 

Immediate Media acquires BBC Good Food

Immediate MediaImmediate Media Co is to acquire BBC Good Food, the UK’s biggest food media brand, from BBC Studios. The deal, Immediate’s first acquisition under the ownership of Hubert Burda Media, continues the company’s development as it looks to accelerate its growth through strategic M&A and product development. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 1989, BBC Good Food has the biggest cross-media reach of any UK magazine brand. bbcgoodfood.com is the UK’s largest food website, with 22 million visitors globally a month; BBC Good Food magazine, is the best-selling food magazine in the UK, with 1.3 million monthly readers; whilst the BBC Good Food show live events are the largest and most popular food and drink shows in the UK, with over 250,000 visitors a year.

Immediate Media CEO Tom Bureau said, “We are excited to be acquiring BBC Good Food. Not only is this the biggest brand in food publishing and media, but is absolutely on strategy for Immediate, given our focus on high value special interest communities, and cements our market leadership in the Food sector. We see significant opportunity in growing the brand, which we know well from working closely with BBC Studios. I’m looking forward to welcoming the hugely talented BBC Good Food team to Immediate, and we are committed to continue to produce the world-class content they are known for, whilst developing the brand across all platforms.”

BBC Good Food will form a new food business portfolio for Immediate. Headed up by BBC Good Food’s publishing director, Chris Kerwin, who takes up the role of food managing director, reporting to group managing director, Alison Forrestal.

Under the terms of the deal, the BBC Good Food brand name and the bbcgoodfood.com URL are licensed to Immediate by BBC Studios.

UK, London

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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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Mark Allen Group to acquire Rhinehold Group Assets

Mark Allen GroupThe Mark Allen Group has won the bid to acquire all the assets in the Rhinegold Group. These assets include the International Piano, Choir & Organ, Classical Music, Teaching Drama, and Music Teacher publications. Rhinegold also publishes Opera Now. Through its events arm it owns and organises Music & Drama Education Expos in London and Manchester. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Rhinegold assets will add significantly to MAG’s strong position in music publishing, whose current portfolio includes the world’s leading classical music brand, Gramophone, as well as the premier magazines in their respective fields, Jazzwise and Songlines.

The parties are now entering into due diligence with the aim to complete the sale in October, after which the Rhinegold staff will be relocated from central London to MAG’s offices at St Jude’s Church in Herne Hill.

The origins of Rhinegold go back to 1977 with the launch of what is now Classical Music and the acquisition of Music Teacher. Since then the company has grown by acquisition and launch. Five years ago the first Music Education Expo was launched in London.

Mark Allen, the chairman of MAG, said, “I have been stalking Rhinegold for the past three years and I am delighted to say that my hope in acquiring these excellent assets looks like being realised. During this time, I have got to know, like and respect the current owner, Derek Smith, as well as several of the staff. There is a great deal of synergy with our own brands.”

Chief executive officer, Ben Allen added, “It is less than six years ago that we decided to enter the music market with our purchase of Jazzwise. This is a market in which we have done well and Rhinegold provides a golden opportunity for us to extend and enhance our dominant position. With increased leisure time likely to be a factor, music will loom even larger in people’s lives and we intend to be at the forefront of these trends.”

UK, London

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