Nielsen Business Media sells 8 trade publications


Confirming rumors which began circulating a month ago, The Nielsen Company announced that it is selling eight trade publications to e5 Global Media LLC, a new company formed by Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners. The deal includes The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, The Clio Awards, Backstage and Film Journal International.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The sale announcement from Nielsen came just 10 days after Reed Elsevier sold three of its US trade publications, including Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News, to NewBay Media.

In addition to the eight publications, e5 Global Media will also acquire the Film Expo business from Nielsen Business Media, which includes the ShoWest, ShowEast, Cinema Expo International and CineAsia trade shows. The Nielsen announcement says the sale is expected to close by the end of this month.

Missing from the announcement is any mention whatsoever of Lachlan Murdoch. Recent reports had tied him to the group bidding for the Nielsen titles, but his Illyria investment company is not listed as having any part of e5 Global Media. So, it appears he pulled his money out of News Corporation for some other use.

The New York Post, which is owned by News Corporation, reported that Lachlan Murdoch dropped out of the bidding group before the deal was finalized and was replaced by Guggenheim Partners. The Post story put the price of the deal at around $70 million.

Who’s Who at e5 Global Media

Pluribus Capital was founded in 2009 by James A. Finkelstein, George Green and Matthew Doull to focus on acquiring and managing industry leading media properties with high growth potential, particularly those with strong brand recognition across multiple platforms including digital, print and events.

Finkelstein’s News Communications Inc. owns Capitol Hill Publishing, the publisher of The Hill, a daily newspaper and website focused on Congress. It also owns Marquis Who’s Who, which publishes such directories as Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.

Green is the retired President and CEO of Hearst Magazines International and Doull is a nephew of incarcerated ex-media mogul Conrad Black.

Guggenheim Partners is described as a privately held, diversified financial services firm with more than $100 billion in assets under supervision.

“We are all excited to acquire such a premier collection of media properties. These are unique brands that are already leaders in their respective fields and, with the additional financial and strategic resources that we will provide, they will be positioned to add enhanced content across their print, online and new media channels and to continue to deliver value to their subscribers and advertisers. We look forward to working with the talented editors, journalists, and employees to further build on and expand these strong platforms while supporting their continued success,” said, supposedly chanting in unison if the press release is to be believed, Jimmy Finkelstein of Pluribus Capital, who will become Chairman of e5 Global Media, and Todd Boehly, Managing Partner in the Office of the CEO at Guggenheim Partners.

Nielsen said it remains committed to its leading trade show group and affiliated brands. “It will continue to assess the strategic fit of other publications,” the company said. Apparently, two titles have already been found not to fit. While the magazine sale would obviously be a big story for the writers at Editor & Publisher, you won’t find it there. The publication has been shut down after Nielsen failed to find a buyer. Ditto for Kirkus Review, a trade pub for the book publishing business.

“Nielsen is committed to managing its portfolio of businesses in a way that maximizes their long-term value,” said Greg Farrar, President of Nielsen Business Media. Speaking of the sale to e5 Global Media, he said “Divesting these titles allows Nielsen to focus its investment on its core businesses and those parts of our portfolio that have the greatest potential for growth, including our leading trade show group.”

RBR-TVBR observation: The landscape in this business is changing fast. The survivors will be those who change to meet the challenges of the market and serve their readers and advertisers in the way they want to be served.

Another Nielsen Business Media trade publication was not so lucky as to be sold, since Radio & Records was shut down early this year.

RBR-TVBR’s publisher commented on the closing of R&R last June.

E&P was certainly an iconic brand, but its business model wasn’t sustainable in a world where the business it covered – primarily newspapers – but other print as well, is contracting on a daily basis. We wait to see what changes e5 Global Media brings to The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, The Clio Awards, Backstage and Film Journal International.

Radio Business Report Inc. has certainly seen a lot of change in 27 years. It’s been quite a challenge, but we remain independently owned. Knowing what this business is like, we wonder whether the private equity guys backing e5 Global Media and NewBay Media really understand what sort of ride they’ve signed on for!