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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Miscellaneous Doings in B2B 

Since I'm so far behind on blogging, I thought I'd catch up on a few acquisition items of interest from the past few weeks.

VNU
First off, VNU is now fully private, having delisted its shares from the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. The company is also beginning the process of loading on debt--potentially more than $5 billion, depending on how the credit facility is used.

VNU also added Radio & Records to its Billboard portfolio. R&R has been on the market for ages, so I count this as a tiny add-on deal, and no real indication of the effect of the new owners. We have yet to hear how the management structure of VNU is going to shake out, anyway.

United Business Media
United Business Media acquired Commonwealth Business Media for $152 million. Commonwealth is a major trade, transportation and logistics media company whose key brand is The Journal of Commerce. The Times of London provided this analysis:

Analysts have also welcomed the price paid, saying UBM is consistently careful not to overpay. The group said yesterday that the acquisition is expected to meet UBM’s 8 per cent after-tax cost of capital criterion in 2007.

In the past few months, UBM also added Cable Digital News to its Light Reading properties for $300k.

New B2B Company
Richard Reiff, who left the president's post at Cygnus, has formed Advantage Business Media with an initial acquisition of Reed Business Information's New Products division, with revenues "north of $50 million," according to BtoB. Properties include: CED, Bioscience Technology, Chem.info, Drug Discovery & Development, ECN, EITD (Electronic Industry Telephone Directory), Food Manufacturing, Genomics & Proteomics, Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Laboratory Equipment, Manufacturing.net, Medical Design Technology, Pharmaceutical Processing, Product Design & Development, Production Technology News, R&D Research & Development, ReedLink, Scientific Computing, Surgical Products, Wireless Design & Development, and Wireless Week.

While I always love to see new b2b media companies entering the mix, and fully believe that large portfolio companies like Reed (or VNU or UBM) go through cyclical periods of acquisition and then divestiture, this particular deal reminds me a lot of Questex, which bought a chunk of business from Advanstar and then has promptly struggled to breathe life into products somewhat past their heyday. Hope I'm wrong with this comparison, and wish Reiff and his partners all the best.

Other News
Eli Research, a company I hadn't heard of previously, is on the acquisition trail.

Grand View Media, which is owned by the folks at EBSCO Industries, acquired NTP Media.

And Simmons-Boardman acquired Davison Publishing Co.

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