BIAfn expands with new media acquisition


BIA Financial Network (BIAfn) analyzes lots of media transactions, but this time it is the one actually doing the M&A deal. BIAfn announced that it has acquired The Kelsey Group, a provider of research, data and analysis on print and electronic Yellow Pages, local search, small-business marketing and local media. Under the agreement, The Kelsey Group, led by CEO Neal Polachek, will operate under a newly formed subsidiary, BIA Advisory Services LLC, which will also include BIA Consulting and BIA Research.

BIAfn said its traditional clients, including broadcasters, will benefit from Kelsey’s expertise in new technologies and new media.

“The addition of The Kelsey Group to the BIAfn family enables us to meet a wider set of customer needs during a real time of transition in the media industry. The Kelsey Group’s ability to identify and forecast changes in local markets and businesses through its own research and consulting complements BIAfn’s services to a different segment of the media industry,” said BIAfn President and CEO Tom Buono.

“We were looking for a way to increase the value for our clients. BIAfn has been a market leader in analyzing, interpreting and delivering superior insight into the local advertising arena. Importantly, their areas of expertise complement The Kelsey Group’s strength in directional media,” said John F. Kelsey, III, chairman and cofounder, The Kelsey Group. Kelsey, who founded The Kelsey Group in 1986 with his wife Pam, will oversee conference planning and execution while continuing his role in client relations and business. BIA Advisory Services will retain The Kelsey Group’s current offices and personnel across the country.

“Combining the thought leadership and deep market knowledge of our two organizations results in a powerful resource for the companies that operate in the transitioning local media marketplace,” said Polachek, who now heads BIA Advisory Services LLC.

With the acquisition of The Kelsey Group, 25-year-old BIAfn said it is positioned to strategically counsel its core clients into new technologies and mediums that will help expand their revenues and improve the industry landscape. The Kelsey Group clients, meanwhile, will benefit from BIAfn’s appraisals, valuations, financial and strategic assistance, and data services not previously offered by the company.

“It is critical for traditional media to embrace the Internet and other forms of new media, but there remains uncertainty over what direction to take. The Kelsey Group’s expanded access to key research on local advertising and new media trends, in addition to their respected conferences addressing critical issues for surviving in this complicated new environment will create a rich solution set that will enhance how we help our clients navigate through the online land mines. It is a significant opportunity for growth that we all plan to capitalize on for everyone’s benefit,” said Buono of the combination.