Media mergers news: Elon Musk in $43.4bn bid to take Twitter private

Media deals: Future acquires WhoWhatWear growing its US fashion foothold

Quartz was today acquired by G/O Media

Welcome to Press Gazettes deals homepage, where we plan to track all the latest and most significant news about media mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and other deals in the news and media sector.

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10 May 2022

Future acquires WhoWhatWear

By Andrew Kersley

Publishing giant Future has acquired digital US women’s lifestyle publisher WhoWhatWear, in a move that will see Future become the 6th largest beauty and fashion publisher in the US.

Launched in 2006, WhoWhatWear has 12m monthly users and 10m social media followers. The fee paid by Future to acquire the outlet has not been disclosed.

The WhoWhatWear business will continue to be led by president Brianna Mobrem, chief revenue officer Shayna Kossove and chief content officer and co-founder Hillary Kerr.

Future chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne said: “At Future, we’ve built a stable of lifestyle brands that speak to women across the globe around fashion, beauty, and lifestyle.  The content we create helps them shape a vision. The proprietary tech we own helps them realise it.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: UK / US

Status: Official

4 May 2022

Aquila acquires Comosoft

By Andrew Kersley

Marketing production workflow solutions company Comosoft has been acquired by Aquila, a subsidiary of Canadian company Constellation software for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 1994, Comosoft is a global pioneer in multichannel media and Product Information Management (PIM) systems for B2C and B2B operations, including retailers, grocery chains, manufacturers and marketing agencies.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: Canada

Status: Official

3 May 2022

Decrypt raises $10m and goes independent

By William Turvill

Cryptocurrency news outlet Decrypt has raised $10m and been spun out of Consensys Mesh, a business incubator, to become an independent media company.

Decrypt said the deal, which involves 22 investors, gives the company a value of $50m.

The media firm was founded in 2018 inside the Consensys Mesh incubator programme. Today, Decrypt says it has 5m average monthly unique users and 25 full-time employees.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $10/50m

Country: US

Status: Official

29 April 2022

Vice considers selling studio business

By William Turvill

Vice Media is considering selling its studio business, according to The Information.

The digital media giant has reportedly hired bankers from PJT and Liontree to sound out buyers.

The Information reports that Vice is coming under pressure to repay investor debts.

Source: The Information

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Report

28 April 2022

G/O Media buys Quartz

By Charlotte Tobitt

The owner of satire news site The Onion, feminist site Jezebel and pop culture site AV Club has bought business news brand Quartz.

G/O Media chief executive Jim Spanfeller said Quartz was an attractive brand because its high-quality global business journalism has a good prospect of attracting both subscribers and valuable advertisers, according to the New York Times. Spanefeller was also reported as saying no Quartz employees would be laid off because of the deal.

Quartz co-founder and chief executive Zach Seward will stay with the company as general manager and editor-in-chief of Quartz. Quartz’s current editor Katherine Bell is stepping down but will remain in an advisory role.

Seward and Bell bought Quartz from its former Japanese owner Uzabase in a management buyout in November 2020. It was not expected to break even this year, according to the NYT.

Quartz ditched its paywall earlier this month less than three years after it put up a metered paywall on its site. It will keep some paid products, such as its Quartz Africa offering.

Source: New York Times

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Official

26 April 2022

Elon Musk Twitter bid accepted 

By Andrew Kersley

The world’s richest man Elon Musk has reached a $44bn (£35bn) deal to buy Twitter and take the company private in a move that will give the tech billionaire control of a social network with more than 200 million users.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Musk said: “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”

He added: “Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and users to unlock it.”

The Tesla and Space X chief executive has frequently criticised Twitter for not fulfilling its role as a platform for “free speech”.

In a meeting with staff after the deal was agreed Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal said: “Once the deal closes, we don’t know which direction the platform will go.”

Source: The Guardian

Deal size: $44bn

Country: US

Status: Official

26 April 2022

News start-up Informed raises $5.4m, recruits ex-FT and Economist editors

By Andrew Kersley

Berlin-based news start-up Informed has raised a total of $5.4m (£4.3m) in seed funding ahead of a planned launch later this year.

Founded in January 2021, Informed is building an app that offers paying users a feed of “human-curated content” from different publishers in an effort to appeal to those who would rather access content from a mix of outlets than a single publication.

Ex-FT editor Lionel Barber and ex-Economist editor-in-chief Bill Emmott have also joined the advisory board of Informed.

Source: Bloomberg

Deal size: $5.4m

Country: Germany

Status: Official

14 April 2022

Elon Musk bid for Twitter

Tech billionaire Elon Musk has offer $43.4bn to take Twitter private.

He said in a filing to the US SEC: “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy.

“However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.

“As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced. My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.

“Twitter has extraordinary potential.  I will unlock it.

Source: SEC

Deal size: $43.4bn

Country: US

Status: Announced

12 April 2022

Bonhill Group raises £1.1m and replaces chief executive

By Andrew Kersley

London-based information, events and data analytics company Bonhill Group has raised £1.1m through the issuing of share capital.

Bonhill chief executive Simon Stilwell has also resigned with immediate effect, to be replaced by the company’s managing director Patrick Ponsford as interim chief executive. Non-executive chair Jonathan Glasspool also becomes interim executive chair until a permanent chief executive is appointed.

Bonhill Group expects revenue of £16.4m in 2021 (lower than the £17.8m registered in 2020) and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation are expected to break even.

Source: Bonhill

Deal size: £1.1m

Country: UK

Status: Official

8 April 2022

France Media Group buys four Archant magazine brands

By Charlotte Tobitt

Four Archant magazine brands that were left out of the publisher’s recent takeover by Newsquest have been bought by Bath-based France Media Group: France Magazine, French Property News, Complete France, France Property Shop and their related exhibition brands.

France Media Group’s founder and editorin–chief Guy Hibbert said: “The business I started as a hobby twenty years ago has enjoyed continued growth thanks to focussing on our passion and enthusiasm for French culture, property and lifestyle. We have acquired a number of titles along the way and this latest acquisition not only extends our audience reach but also consolidates France Media Group’s position as the leading international publisher of content for Francophiles.

Archant’s chief executive Lorna Willis said:  “These titles have a natural home within France Media Group where they will continue to prosper and thrive under the direction of a passionate and dedicated team committed to providing Francophiles with the highest quality content.”

France Media Group’s existing magazine brands include Taste of France and France Today.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: France

Status: Official

6 April 2022

Incisive Media split up and sold

By Dominic Ponsford

UK B2B events and information group Incisive Media is being split up and sold to two companies funded by US private equity firm Eagletree. Full story here.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Official

5 April 2022

O’Rourke Media Group acquires the Sussex Printing Corporation

By Andrew Kersley

US digital agency and regional publisher O’Rourke Media Group has acquired The Sussex Printing Corporation for an undisclosed sum.  The transaction includes Sussex Printing’s advertising titles, including The Guide.

Sussex Printing was formed over 60 years ago and is both a printer and a regional distributor of advertisements and classifieds. O’Rourke Media Group has kept all 50 current Sussex Printing employees.

O’Rourke Media Group currently operates in six US states with a full-service digital agency and 23 publications and hyperlocal websites.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

31 March 2022

Axios buys SF Minute newsletter

By William Turvill

Axios has announced the acquisition of SF Minute, a Substack title that covers local news in San Francisco.

SF Minute will be rebranded as Axios San Francisco and becomes part of the company’s growing local newsletter business.

SF Minute was founded in 2020 by editor Nick Bastone. He will now be a co-author of Axios San Francisco.

Source: Axios

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

30 March 2022

Axel Springer acquires majority stake in World.Minds

By Andrew Kersley

German publisher Axel Springer has acquired a majority stake in the Swiss-based community-building company World.Minds for an undisclosed sum, with plans to expand it beyond Switzerland.

Founded in Zurich in 2008, World.Minds is an exclusive, invitation-only community of more than 1,000 leaders in science, arts, government and business, which hosts events to facilitate exchanges between different groups.

Christoph Keese, managing partner and chief executive of the Axel Springer Consulting Group, has become the co-managing director at World.Minds, alongside founder Rolf Dobelli.

Source: Axel Springer

Deal size: Unknown

Country: Germany/Switzerland

Status: Official

30 March 2022

Private equity firms buy Nielsen in $16bn deal

By Andrew Kersley

Media measurement company Nielsen has agreed to sell itself to a group of private equity firms led by Elliott Management and Brookfield Asset Management in a deal that values the company at $1obn, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The private equity buyers agreed to pay $28 a share for the company, or $16bn total including debt, in one of the largest media deals of the year so far. The deal includes a 45-day go-shop period during which Nielsen can solicit bids from other parties.

Nielsen measures US television ratings, which provide audience estimates on shows that TV networks use to sell ad time. Its influence has been impacted by the continued growth of streaming giants over traditional TV.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Deal size: $16bn

Country: US

Status: Official

24 March 2022

Future acquires WhatCulture.com and Waive

By Andrew Kersley

Magazine publisher Future has acquired digital gaming and entertainment outlet WhatCulture.com and data insight platform Waive for an undisclosed sum.

The move marks the continuation of an aggressive acquisition policy from Future that has seen the company buy magazine publisher Dennis for £300m and publisher TI Media for £140m.

WhatCulture’s website and 11 Youtube channels respectively have three million users and over eight million subscribers, and roughly 70% of its revenue is from the US. Waive is a data insight platform that provides intelligence on emerging content trends.

Source: Future

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Official

24 March 2022

Newsquest says Archant titles will have ‘much more secure future’ after sale, but staff fear cuts

By Andrew Kersley

Newsquest has insisted it will give Archant’s news brands a “much more secure future” as staff expressed concerns of more “internal upheaval” to come.

Archant reporters expressed concerns that the move could lead to redundancies and a rise in page view targets for reporters, with one suggesting that Newsquest “does not care about journalists or journalism”.

Press Gazette can also reveal that the deal did not include eight of Archant’s specialist magazine titles: Air Gunner, Airgun World, Sporting Shooter, Clay Shooter, Rifle Shooter, France Magazine, French Property News and France Property Shop.

They are now undergoing a sales process directed by Rcapital, the private equity owner that bought Archant in 2020. Several specialist titles had already been offloaded to Kelsey Media last month.

Source: Press Gazette

Deal size: N/A

Country: UK

Status: Official

22 March 2022

Recurrent Ventures acquires Business of Home

By Andrew Kersley

Digital media company Recurrent Ventures has acquired Business of Home, a digital and print publication for home and interior design enthusiasts.

Business of Home is the first B2B title acquired by Recurrent, which currently has a portfolio of more than 20 digital media outlets spanning home, lifestyle, military, outdoor, science and tech. It raised $75m in funding in October to continue buying distressed assets, often in print, that it can revive as digital brands.

Business of Home was founded by Julia Noran Johnston in 2009 as a high-end media brand for industry interior design professionals. It currently employs 11 people, while its annual conference, Future of Home, is one of the biggest interior designs events in the US.

Noran Johnston will remain as the head of Business of Home and continue to oversee the brand’s day-to-day operations alongside the outlet’s editor-in-chief Kaitlin Petersen.

Source: Axios

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

18 March 2022

Newsquest buys rival regional publisher Archant

By Andrew Kersley

The UK’s second biggest regional publisher Newsquest has bought Archant, the fourth largest in the market, for an undisclosed fee. Archant was previously acquired by private equity firm Rcapital in September 2020.

Archant owns more than 100 magazine and news brands around the UK, principally in East Anglia. Press Gazette understands the Competition and Markets Authority is not currently looking into the merger.

Newsquest currently publishes 205 titles, including the Northern Echo, Brighton Argus and Scottish outlet The National, and is ultimately owned by US media giant Gannett.

Source: Press Gazette

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Official

11 March 2022

Podcast start-up Kaleidoscope raises $3.5m in funding

By Andrew Kersley

Podcast start-up Kaleidoscope has raised $3.5m for seed funding led by North Base Media.

Participating investors are The Raine Group, former MTV Networks CEO Tom Freston, former Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles, author and creator John Green, Nimble Ventures partner John Burbank, Moby Media Group CEO Saad Mohseni and TPG Capital’s Dirk Eller.

The channel has singed a six-show deal with iHeart, with four podcasts expected to arrive by this fall.

Source: Axios

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Official

28 February 2022

Footballco acquires long-form magazine Mundial

By Andrew Kersley

Football media company Footballco has acquired Mundial studio, creators of Mundial print magazine and the Giant podcast.

The long-form Mundial magazine is known for being fan-centric and offering coverage of issues not always covered by the mainstream football media, like the intersection between sport and culture. The group also runs a successful e-commerce business, selling Mundial merchandise, books, clothing and gifts.

Launched in 2014, publication of the Mundial print magazine ceased when the pandemic hit but the new deal means the publishers said the magazine will return to print in June in time for the Women’s Euro 2022 competition.

Footballco owns brands including Goal, Spox, Voetbalzone, Calciomercato and Player (a sports in-stream video player).

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Official

18 February 2022

Canadian publisher Postmedia buys New Brunswick titles

By William Turvill

Canada’s Postmedia Network has agreed a deal to buy local publisher Brunswick News Inc (BNI) from JD Irving Ltd.

Postmedia, which already owns the National Post, Vancouver Sun and Calgary Herald, has agreed to pay CA$7.5m in cash and CA$8.6m in shares.

BNI publishes several daily and weekly newspapers in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, including the Telegraph-Journal, Times Globe and the Daily Gleaner.

“Postmedia believes that BNI’s Eastern Canada operations are highly complementary to our existing business and strongly align with our strategic priorities,” said Andrew MacLeod, president and chief executive of Postmedia.

“These titles have a proud history of providing excellent journalism across New Brunswick and we look forward to continuing that legacy. The addition of BNI brands allows Postmedia to serve audiences and marketers from the Pacific to the Atlantic while we continue to build out a national distribution platform and network for our parcel delivery business.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: CA$16m

Country: Canada

Status: Official

18 February 2022

Media Business Insights acquires Rapid TV News

By Andrew Kersley

Private-equity owned publisher Media Business Insights (MBI) has acquired Rapid TV News, a leading online daily news service for the international broadcast and streaming industry. It reports a sign-up base of more than 25,000 to its website and newsletters.

MBI currently publishes Broadcast International and Screen International, news sites that cover the TV and film industries respectively, and reports annual revenue of some £11m.

Rapid TV News launched in 2007 and covers  broadcast technology, information and analysis in the global TV market. It also publishes the Rapid TV Everywhere digital magazine.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Official

16 February 2022

Spotify buys two podtech businesses

By William Turvill

Music streaming giant Spotify has announced the acquisitions of Podsights and Chartable to enhance its podcast business.

Podsights is a podcast advertising measurement service, and Chartable is a podcast analytics platform.

Announcing the deals today, Spotify noted eMarketer forecasts that say the podcast advertising market will be worth $2.7bn by 2025.

The company said: “We believe the next step to unlocking this growth is demonstrating audio advertising’s impact through innovations in measurement and attribution for advertisers and audience insights for publishers.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: Sweden/US

Status: Official

10 February 2022

Informa to sell Pharma Intelligence for £1.9bn to Warburg Pincus

By Andrew Kersley

International B2B and business intelligence group Informa has announced the sale of its Pharma Intelligence operation to private equity firm Warburg Pincus for a fee totalling £1.9bn.

A leading provider of specialist intelligence and data for clinical trials, drug development and regulatory compliance, Pharma Intelligence accounted for 40% of the £305m revenues reported for the company’s Informa Intelligence division in 2020.

Informa will retain a 15% stake in the business going forward and has also announced plans for a new round of share buybacks.

Source: Informa

Deal value: £1.9bn

Country: UK

Status: Announced

10 February 2022

Forbes nets $200m in funding from crypto giant Binance

By Andrew Kersley

Business information brand Forbes has received a $200m strategic investment from cryptocurrency giant Binance.

Forbes previously announced plans to pursue a business combination that would allow the company to become publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FRBS”.

The $200m will allow Binance to assume $200m worth of commitments in a previously announced $400 million private investment in public equity (“PIPE”) that forms part of its NYSE-listing aims.

Source: Forbes

Deal value: $200m

Country: US

Status: Official

9 February 2022

Archant sells specialist magazine titles

By Andrew Kersley

Local news publisher Archant has offloaded several specialist brands to Kelsey Media ahead of an expected sale by its private equity owner.

The Norfolk-based publisher has sold the magazines Agricultural Trader, Country Smallholding, Canal Boat, The Tillergraph and Pilot, plus general aviation website UKGA, leaving the group with fewer than ten specialist magazines.

Kelsey Media has bought the likes of World Soccer and Amateur Photographer from Future and gadget magazine Stuff from Haymarket in recent years. It closed around ten magazines towards the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It comes amid reports that private equity firm Rcapital has put Archant up for sale after 18 months of ownership.

Source: Press Gazette

Deal value: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Official

27 January 2022

New York Times purchases viral puzzle game Wordle

By Andrew Kersley

The New York Times has purchased the viral puzzle game Wordle from creator Josh Wardle for an undisclosed sum “in the low seven figures”.

The game will become part of the publication’s growing puzzle section, which Wardle previously said was one of the inspirations behind him creating the game himself.

The free-to-play web game has gone viral in recent months after its launch in October, seeing millions playing it daily. The company did not confirm if the game would remain free in the long-term however, saying only that it would “initially remain free to new and existing players”.

The move follows the NYT’s acquisition of sports publication The Athletic for $550m last month.

Source: NYT

Deal value: Low $1ms

Country: US

Status: Official

27 January 2022

Tortoise raises £10m in series A funding round

By Andrew Kersley

“Slow news” start-up Tortoise has secured £10m of new funding to invest in audio journalism, events and growing its membership revenue.

The largest investor in the series A funding deal was investment management company Lansdowne Partners. It will now become a significant shareholder in Tortoise alongside Thomson Reuters chair David Thomson’s investment firm Woodbridge, one of the largest investors in the group’s initial seed round in 2018.

Press Gazette understands the outlet has grown its paid membership to 55,000 since its full launch in 2019, marking a 5,000 increase in paid membership since October last year.

In its latest published accounts, for the year to December 2020, Tortoise recorded a total loss to date of £8.5m compared to a loss to date of £5.4m in 2019.

Source: Press Gazette

Deal value: £10m

Country: UK

Status: Official

21 January 2022

A360 Media acquires Bauer Media’s US publishing business

By Andrew Kersley

A360 Media has announced that it is purchasing the entirety of Bauer Media’s remaining US publishing business, comprising of Woman’s World, First for Women and a specialist bookazine business that produces more than 100 special interest publications per year.

The deal is expected to close in February. A360 Media, part of Accelerate360, operates an array of celebrity and health and wellbeing publications.

The move marks Bauer’s total withdrawal from the US market after 40 years in the country. The company says it now plans to focus on European investments in the fields of publishing, audio, online comparison platforms and digital services in the SME sector.

Bauer Media runs some 600 magazines and 400 digital products largely in the B2B and B2C media spaces. It reports having a workforce of 15,000.

Source: PR Newswire

Deal value: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Official

20 January 2022

WBEZ Chicago to acquire Chicago Sun-Times

By Andrew Kersley

NPR-affiliated radio station WBEZ Chicago has agreed a deal to acquire city tabloid the Chicago Sun-Times.

The deal, expected to close on 31 January, will see the Sun-Times, once famous for its anti-corruption investigations, join WBEZ as a not-for-profit subsidiary of Chicago Public Media.

The Chicago Sun-Times will get its own non-profit board, filled with members of the Chicago Public Media team, as well as several independent members including Aretae Ortiz Wyler, chief operating officer of The Atlantic.

Both outlets will maintain their independent newsrooms, offices and editorial independence, and receive new executive editors, roles currently not present at either organisation – although they will share some content.

Source: WBEZ Chicago

Deal value: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Official

18 January 2022

Arena Group to acquire Parade publisher for $16m

By William Turvill

The Arena Group, which owns brands including Sports Illustrated and TheStreet, has announced a $16m deal to buy the publisher of Parade magazine.

Arena’s acquisition of AMG/Parade comes days after the company unveiled plans to ‘uplist’ its shares to the New York Stock Exchange from the smaller OTCQX.

In a press release announcing the AMG/Parade deal, Arena (formerly known as Maven) revealed that it generated record revenues of more than $180m in 2021, up 41% on the previous year.

Source: Press release

Deal value: $16m

Country: US

Status: Official

13 January 2022

The Claverley Group acquires HPCi Media

By Andrew Kersley

The Claverley Group, publisher of the Express and Star, the Shropshire Star and the Jersey Evening Post, has acquired London-based HPCi Media.

Claverley spent an undisclosed sum on the specialist media publisher, which focuses on the beauty, wellness and health industries with titles such as Cosmetics Business and Pure Beauty.

It is the third acquisition made by the Wolverhampton-based company since those of children’s magazine publisher Kennedy and creative design and print management business Cubiquity in 2018.

The Express and Star, one of Britain’s biggest-selling regional papers, has an average circulation of 19,683 according to ABC.

SourceExpress and Star

Deal value: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Official

12 January 2022

Arena Group lists on NYSE

By Andrew Kersley

The Arena Group, the publisher behind brands like Sports Illustrated and TheStreet, has announced plans to uplist its shares to the New York Stock Exchange from the smaller OTCQX.

At the same time, the company is planning a reverse stock split of its common stock and to officially change its name to The Arena Group Holdings Inc (it was previously known as theMaven Inc)

Sports Illustrated had an average circulation of 1,740,546 in the first half of 2021, making it one of the top 20 most read magazines in the US.

Source: Press release

Deal value: N/A

Country: US

Status: Official

10 January 2022

Times Higher Education acquires Inside Higher Education

By Andrew Kersley

Times Higher Education (THE) has acquired Inside Higher Education, a US provider of news and analysis for the higher education sector.

The two combined brands will now have a total audience of over 50 million unique site visitors per year, THE said. It follows the acquisition of THE itself by Inflexion Private Equity in February 2019 following sustained growth in recent years.

Inside Higher Education will continue to operate independently but the two outlets will pool resources to give an “unrivalled reach across the world’s key higher education markets”.

Source: Press release

Deal value: Undisclosed

Country: UK / US

Status: Official

7 January 2022

Metropolis Group acquires Viz, Cyclist and Fortean Times

By Andrew Kersley

B2B publisher Metropolis has acquired magazines Viz, Cyclist and Fortean Times from Broadleaf Group for an undisclosed sum.

Adult satire magazine Viz has been running for 42 years and is known for its trademark style of parody and profanity. Cyclist is a world-leading road cycling media brand, while Fortean Times is a monthly magazine of news, reviews and research on strange and paranormal phenomena.

The three titles will bring a total of 72,000 magazine readers to the Metropolis group’s already sizeable collection of brands which include Nursing Times, Property Week and Architects’ Journal. Founded in 1994, the media owner has more than 400 staff across 40 brands.

Source: Press release

Deal value: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Official

6 January 2022

Report: New York Times agrees $550m deal to buy the Athletic

By William Turvill

The New York Times has agreed to buy sports news website the Athletic for around $550m, according to the Information.

It was first reported last month that the NYT had entered exclusive talks with the subscription-funded Athletic (see below on this page).

The Information previously reported that the Athletic was seeking to sell itself for more than $750m.

The New York Times and the Athletic are two of the top five subscription news businesses in the world, according to Press Gazette’s latest 100k Club ranking. The Times last reported having 7.6m digital-only subscribers, while the Athletic is reported to have around 1.2m.

Source: The Information

Deal value: $550m

Country: US

Status: Report

6 January 2022

Emerald Holding acquires cannabis industry B2B platform MJBiz

By Andrew Kersley

B2B trade show organiser and media conglomerate Emerald Holding has announced it has finalised its acquisition of MJBiz, a leading B2B content and event producer for the cannabis industry, for an initial fee of $120m.

MJBiz reported revenues of $27m in 2021, which it says is similar to its pre-pandemic levels, and delivered 38% compound annual revenue growth in the three years prior to Covid-19.

The outlet’s senior management, including chief executive Chris Walsh, will continue to lead the day-to-day operations of MJBiz, while co-founders and board members Cassandra Farrington and Anne Holland will continue to consult with the business.

The initial $120m fee is set to rise by an undisclosed amount depending on the performance of MJBiz during 2022.

Source: Press release

Deal value: $120m

Country: US

Status: Official

27 December 2021

News Corp buys Base Chemicals from S&P Global and IHS Markit

By William Turvill

News Corp has announced the acquisition of the Base Chemicals business of S&P Global and IHS Markit for $295m.

Base Chemicals, which was expected to generate revenues of $65m last year, will become a part of News Corp’s financial information and news division, Dow Jones.

The deal comes after News Corp agreed to buy Oil Price Information Services (OPIS) from S&P Global and IHS Markit for $1.15bn in August 2021 (see below on this page).

S&P Global and IHS Markit agreed to a $44bn merger deal in late 2020. The sales of both OPIS and Base Chemicals have been agreed to satisfy antitrust/competition regulators.

Source: Press release

Deal value: $295m

Country: US

Status: Official

21 December 2021

Investment firm lines up Forbes bid

By William Turvill

Asset management firm GSV is lining up a $620m takeover bid for Forbes Media, according to an Axios report.

Business news company Forbes is due to list on the stock market in early 2022 through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). 

But GSV, in partnership with other institutional investors and family officers, wants to derail that process, according to the Axios report.

Read more.

Source: Axios

Deal value: $620m

Country: US

Status: Report

17 December 2021

New York Times in exclusive talks to acquire the Athletic

By William Turvill

The New York Times is in exclusive talks to acquire digital sports news business the Athletic, according to Puck.

The Athletic, which claims to have 1.2m paid subscribers, has reportedly been seeking a buyer for much of 2021 and had previously been linked with the NYT as well as Axios (scroll down this page for more).

The Information reported that its previous negotiations with the NYT had broken down in June. In September, the Information reported that the Athletic had hired bankers to find a buyer willing to pay more than $750m.

Earlier this week, Front Office Sports reported that the New York Times was interested again. And today Puck says that the two companies are in exclusive talks.

Source: Puck

Deal value: $750m?

Country: US

Status: Report

16 December 2021

Lord Rothermere wins shareholder approval to take DMGT private for £2.4bn

By William Turvill

Lord Rothermere has succeeded in his bid to take full control of Daily Mail publisher DMGT, which will be delisted from the London Stock Exchange.

The company today announced that investors representing 63% of DMGT shares have now voted in favour of the deal, meaning it has passed the necessary acceptance threshold.

Press Gazette estimates that the takeover deal is worth around £2.4bn, although the total value varies according to the share price of Cazoo – because part of the Rothermere payment is made up of stock in the US-listed online car retailer – and currency movements. 

Source: Press Gazette

Deal value: £2.4bn

Country: UK

Status: Announced

15 December 2021

Alden sues Lee Enterprises after takeover snub

By William Turvill

Hedge fund Alden Global Capital has filed a lawsuit against Lee Enterprises after the local news company rejected an unsolicited takeover offer last week (scroll down this page for more details).

Axios reports that an affiliate of Alden is suing Lee, claiming that it broke company bylaws when it denied an Alden request to nominate three directors for election to its board.

According to Axios, Alden is asking a court to allow the nominees to stand for election. Lee says that Alden’s nomination was “clearly invalid”.

If Alden is able to insert directors on to Lee’s board, it would be a boost for the hedge fund’s efforts to acquire the local news publisher.

The hedge fund, which completed a controversial takeover of Tribune Publishing earlier this year, made a $24-per-share offer for Lee last month.

Source: Axios

Deal value: $142m

Country: US

Status: Report

15 December 2021

LadBible owner’s shares jump on stock market debut

By William Turvill

The 30-year-old founder of LadBible has a net worth of more than £200m after his business listed on the London Stock Exchange today.

Alexander (Solly) Solomou made £50m in cash from share sales today, and he retains a 42% stake in the listed LBG Media.

LBG, which operates several youth-orientated media brands including SportBible, UNILAD and GamingBible, completed its initial public offering (IPO) on the LSE’s Alternative Investment Market (Aim) this morning.

Its shares listed at £1.75, valuing the company at £360m. By the end of the day, LBG’s share price had risen to £2, and the company’s market capitalisation was around £411m.

Read more.

Source: Press Gazette

Deal value: £411m

Country: UK

Status: Official

13 December 2021

Vox Media to merge with Group Nine

By William Turvill

Digital news publishers Vox Media and Group Nine Media have agreed to a merger.

Vox said it had acquired Group Nine this evening, hours after the Wall Street Journal reported that they were in advanced talks. 

The combined group will be led by chief executive and chairman Jim Bankoff, a co-founder of Vox. Group Nine’s founder and CEO Ben Lerer will join the board of Vox Media.

Source: Press release

Deal value: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

9 December 2021

Lee Enterprises rejects Alden’s takeover offer

By William Turvill

The board of Lee Enterprises has rejected a $140m takeover offer from Alden Global Capital, saying the proposal “grossly undervalues” the business.

Alden, a hedge fund that already owns Tribune Publishing and MediaNews Group, announced its $24-per-share offer on 22 November (see full coverage below).

“The Alden proposal grossly undervalues Lee and fails to recognize the strength of our business today, as the fastest-growing digital subscription platform in local media, and our compelling future prospects,” Lee chairman Mary Junck said in a statement today. “We remain confident in our ability to create significant value as an independent company and are focused on our Three Pillar Digital Growth Strategy, detailed earlier this year. We have demonstrated accelerating momentum across our platforms as we execute our plan.”

Separately, Lee – which had local news brands in more than 70 US markets – reported its fourth-quarter results today. The company now reports having 402,000 digital-only subscribers, up from 337,000 in June.

Source: Statement

Deal value: $142m

Country: US

Status: Official

6 December 2021

Buzzfeed shares drop 11% on first day of trading

By William Turvill

Buzzfeed today completed its long-anticipated stock market listing. The digital media company is trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker, BZFD.

The listing – made through a merger with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) – didn’t quite go as planned.

On Friday last week, it emerged that Buzzfeed had raised less money than expected from the deal ($16m rather than $250m after a flurry of investor withdrawals).

Today, as it entered the Nasdaq, Buzzfeed’s shares initially jumped up to 50%. But when the market closed, they were down around 11% at $8.56.

Buzzfeed co-founder and chief executive Jonah Peretti spoke to CNBC as the company listed this morning (see video below).

Source: Various

Country: US

Status: Official

3 December 2021

Lee rejects Alden’s ‘invalid’ board nominations

By William Turvill

Alden Global Capital has been rebuffed in its attempts to nominate three directors to the board of Lee Enterprises, the local news business it wants to acquire.

In a statement today, Lee said that Alden’s proposal – to have the directors voted on by shareholders at its annual meeting – “did not meet several essential requirements” of its company bylaws and is therefore “invalid”.

Lee said in a statement: “Alden’s hasty and convoluted attempt to work around our simple and common procedure on the eve of the nomination deadline does not meet the clear requirements of Lee’s bylaws. Alden’s failure is entirely of its own making. Alden is not entitled to invent its own process for its convenience.”

Alden is in the process of attempting to buy Lee Enterprises. The hedge fund, which already owns Tribune Publishing and MediaNews Group, announced a bid worth roughly $140m last week. Lee responded defensively by enacting a shareholder rights plan that prevents Alden from building up a stake of more than 10% in the business for one year.

(Scroll down this page for previous developments in this story.)

Source: Statement

Deal value: $142m

Country: US

Status: Official

2 December 2021

Lord Rothermere ups offer to take Mail, Metro and i publisher DMGT private

By Charlotte Tobitt

Lord Rothermere has increased his offer to take DMGT private after some investors felt he was undervaluing the business.

He has upped the offer by 5.9%, taking it to 270p per share from 255p per share.

Majedie Asset Management, which has a 4.6% stake, had urged shareholders not to accept the offer as it was “substantially below what we believe is a fair and reasonable valuation”.

Meanwhile JO Hambro Capital Management, which owns about 3% of DMGT shares, had said it was “underwhelmed and unconvinced” by the proposal.

Read more.

Source: Press Gazette

Country: UK

Status: Announced

1 December 2021

Ladbible targets stock market valuation of £360m

By Charlotte Tobitt 

Ladbible, which is preparing to go public, is targeting a valuation of £360m according to Sky News.

Sky reported it is likely to raise £30m from selling new shares, with £80m of shares being sold by existing investors including co-founder Solly Solomou.

Source: Sky News

Deal value: $360m

Country: UK

Status: Unofficial

29 November 2021

Lee Enterprises unions warn against dealing with Alden

By William Turvill

A group of Lee Enterprises unions has urged the company to “reject any present and future” takeover offers made by hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

Alden, which completed its controversial acquisition of Tribune Publishing earlier this year, last week made an unsolicited bid for Lee, which publishes news titles including the Omaha World-Herald and St Loius Post-Dispatch.

Lee responded defensively by enacting a shareholder rights plan. This prevents Alden from acquiring more than 10% of the company while Lee’s board considers the offer.

Today, 12 unionised Lee Enterprises newsrooms wrote to the company board highlighting Alden’s track record in the news industry and demanding that no deal be struck.

“They will take this proud company, built over decades of hard work, and leave it in ashes,” they said. “Thousands of us will lose our jobs, and the communities we service will never recover. Cities with weakened or shuttered newspapers have lower voter turnout, higher taxes, more corruption and increased polarization. Our democracy suffers, and Alden reaps the rewards.”

Source: Statement

Deal value: $142m

Country: US

Status: Official

24 November 2021

Lee Enterprises responds to Alden bid with ‘poison pill’ move

By William Turvill

Local news publisher Lee Enterprises has responded defensively to Alden Global Capital’s takeover proposal.

Following Alden’s unsolicited $142m offer on Monday, the board of Lee Enterprises today said it had enacted a shareholder rights plan.

Known to financiers as a “poison pill”, the move effectively blocks Alden from acquiring more than 10% of Lee’s shares while the company considers its offer. The plan expires in one year.

Lee’s chairman, Mary Junck, said the decision had been taken to “ensure our shareholders receive fair treatment, full transparency and protection in connection with Alden’s unsolicited proposal to acquire Lee.

“This rights plan will provide Lee’s board and our shareholders with the time needed to properly assess the acquisition proposal without undue pressure while also safeguarding shareholders’ opportunity to realize the long-term value of their investment in Lee.”

In adopting the rights plan, Lee’s board said it had “noted Alden’s track record of rapidly acquiring substantial control or ‘negative control’ positions in other public companies”. 

Alden published a letter to Lee’s board announcing its takeover offer on Monday.

In the letter, Alden said an “affiliated entity of ours owns approximately 6%” of Lee already.  This appears to have come as a surprise to Lee’s board, which today highlighted Alden’s “seemingly inconsistent disclosures on its Schedule 13Ds and Form 13Fs filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) regarding its purported ownership of Lee’s shares”.

Source: Press release

Deal value: $142m

Country: US

Status: Official

22 November 2021

Alden announces bid for Lee Enterprises

By William Turvill

Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund owner of Tribune Publishing, has made a $142m bid for US local media group Lee Enterprises.

The firm published a letter to Lee’s board of directors on Monday morning explaining why the offer would leave the company in a “stronger position”.

Lee Enterprises operates news, information and advertising businesses across 77 US markets. Its titles include the Arizona Daily Sun, the St Louis Post-Dispatch and the Buffalo News.

Source: Press Gazette

Deal value: $142m

Country: US

Status: Announced

22 November 2021

FT-backed Sifted raises £5m

By Andrew Kersley

Financial Times-backed website Sifted, which covers the world of European start-ups, has raised £4m of investment funding for a 25% stake.

Sifted was launched in January 2019 by FT innovation editor John Thornhill and start-up entrepreneur Caspar Woolley with the aim of reaching a younger generation of European entrepreneurs.

The deal means ScaleUp Capital is now the largest shareholder in Sifted with a 25% stake.

Source: Press Gazette

Deal value: £4m

Country: UK

Status: Announced

16 November 2021

Medium acquires Knowable

By William Turvill

Blogging platform Medium has announced the acquisition of Knowable, an audio-learning tool.

In a blog post announcing the deal, Medium chief executive Ev Williams said the platforms would be “collaborating closely to help more people spread great ideas across text and audio”.

The deal comes after Medium last week announced the acquisition of Projector, a graphic design platform (see below)

Source: Press release

Deal value: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Announced

16 November 2021

Vox Media acquires podcast studio

By William Turvill

Vox Media, the publisher of Vox, Recode and New York magazine, has acquired podcast studio Criminal Productions for an undisclosed sum.

Source: Deadline

Deal value: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Announced

15 November 2021

Minute Media buys Israeli audience growth business

By William Turvill

Minute Media, a US tech and digital content company, has announced the acquisition of Wazimo, an Israel-based firm that specialises in growing and monetising audiences.

Minute Media operates Voltax, a video and multimedia publishing platform, and also owns brands including the Players’ Tribune, FanSided, 90min, DBLTAP, Mental Floss and the Big Lead.

In a press release, Minute Media said the deal “will enhance Minute Media’s Voltax platform by adding more robust data and business intelligence products and services with an emphasis on first-party data”.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US/Israel

Status: Announced

9 November 2021

Medium acquires graphic design platform

By William Turvill

Blog platform Medium has announced the acquisition of Projector, a graphic design tool.

The deal will see Projector’s entire team join Medium. Co-founder and chief executive Trevor O’Brien becomes Medium’s chief product officer.

Source: Press release

Deal value: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

9 November 2021

New York Times backs OpenWeb

By William Turvill

OpenWeb, a tool that helps publishers manage comments, has raised $150m from companies including the New York Times and Samsung Next, Axios reports. The series E funding round reportedly values the company at $1.1bn.

Chief executive Nadav Shoval told Axios that the money would be used to build more services to help publishers establish direct relationships with readers.

Source: Axios

Value: $150m

Country: US

Status: Official

3 November 2021

Lord Rothermere and DMGT agree buyout deal

By Charlotte Tobitt

Lord Rothermere has agreed an £850m takeover plan with the company that publishes the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday in a move that will see the group taken private after nearly a century on the stock market.

Majority shareholder Lord Rothermere has agreed to pay 255p a share for Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) plus debts, up from an £810 million or 251p a share proposal first made in July.

Shareholders will also receive a special dividend worth 991p for each DMGT share following the recent stock market listing of used car business Cazoo, which DMGT had a stake in, and the sale of its insurance division RMS.

DMGT investors will also receive a final dividend worth 17.3p a share, with DMGT saying the total value of the offer and investor payouts comes to £12.63 a share – or just over £3 billion including debts.

Read the full story here.

Source: DMGT

Value: The deal puts DMGT at £850m. The total value of the offer and investor payouts comes to £12.63 a share – or just over £3 billion including debts.

Country: UK

Status: Official

2 November 2021

Axios valued at $430m after new investment

By William Turvill

Digital news business Axios has said it now has a value of $430m following an investment from Cox Enterprises.

Axios, launched in January 2017 and best known for its suite of free specialist newsletters, expects to generate revenues of around $85m this year, up from approximately $60m in 2020. 

It was reported earlier this year that German publishing giant Axel Springer was in talks to acquire Axios. In August, Axel Springer announced a deal to buy Politico, a Washington rival of Axios.

Axios was also linked to a merger deal with the Athletic, but these talks were reported to have broken down in May.

The details of Cox Enterprises’ series D funding round were announced to staffers on Monday and reported by Axios today.

Source: Axios

Value: $430m

Country: US

Status: Official

1 November 2021

The Athletic attracts bids from sports betting firms

By William Turvill

The Athletic has attracted takeover bids from sports betting companies FanDuel and DraftKings, according to the Information.

The American subscription sports news site reportedly hired bankers from LionTree to explore a sale earlier this year (see report below) after talks with both the New York Times and Axios broke down.

According to the Information, the Athletic wants to sell itself at a value of more than $750m.

Source: The Information

Deal size: $750m

Country: US

Status: Report

1 November 2021

Lord Rothermere nears deal to take DMGT private

By William Turvill

Lord Rothermere is said to be close to tying up his deal to take full control of Daily Mail and General Trust.

Sky News reports that Rothermere Continuation Limited (RCL) is on the verge of agreeing a £400m deal with the trustees of DMGT’s three pension schemes to ensure their protection.

Sky News described this as the “final obstacle to taking the group private” and said the development could be announced within days.

The Rothermere family is already the largest shareholder of DMGT, which owns the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Mail Online, Metro and the i newspaper. It was first announced in July that they were considering an £810m deal to take the company private.

Source: Sky News

Deal size: £810m

Country: UK

Status: Report

22 October 2021

Belfast Telegraph owner sells property site

By William Turvill

Mediahuis, the owner of Northern Ireland news titles including the Belfast Telegraph, has sold Propertynews.com to software development firm GCD Technologies.

Marc Vangeel, the chief executive of Mediahuis Ireland, said: “Mediahuis are proud to have owned the propertynews.com portal within our portfolio of news media and digital brands since 2019, but we believe that this offer from GCD Technologies will bring the resources and product development experience needed to continue to compete effectively into the future. We wish the new owners continued success.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Official

20 October 2021

Paypal could buy Pinterest for $45bn

By William Turvill

Fintech giant Paypal is considering a $45bn offer to buy social media platform Pinterest, according to Bloomberg

Source: Bloomberg

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Report

19 October 2021

James and Kathryn Murdoch near deal to back AP climate hub

By William Turvill

The Quadrivium Foundation, headed up by James and Kathryn Murdoch, is close to agreeing a “multi-million dollar” investment in a new climate reporting hub at Associated Press, Axios reports

Founded in 2014, the Quadrivium Foundation has also put money into the American Journalism Project, SciLine and the 19th. 

Source: Axios

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Report

13 October 2021

Black Ballad raises more than £335,000 in investment

By Charlotte Tobitt

Black Ballad, an online media brand for black women, has raised more than £335,000 in investment.

Some £127,000 came from venture capitalists and private investors while more than £200,000 was raised through an equity crowdfunding campaign which saw 1,397 investors contribute an average £241 into Black Ballad.

The money will help Black Ballad build a bigger team, pay writers more and up its content count, and invest in improving its technology.

Source: Press Gazette

Deal size: £335,000

Country: UK

Status: Official

7 October 2021

Tech.eu acquired by Webrazzi

By Charlotte Tobitt

Turkish tech news website Webrazzi has acquired Tech.eu, with plans to pool their resources and expand their coverage across the region.

Tech.eu co-founder and editor-in-chief Robin Wauters said: “…it would be a lie to pretend that nothing will change. By becoming part of Webrazzi and pooling together our resources, we have an opportunity to be a lot bolder in our plans for the future of Tech.eu, and this will benefit you.

“As you may have noticed, the European innovation ecosystems are growing like crazy, and together with Webrazzi we can meet the challenge of covering the scene the way we originally meant to – consistently, and qualitatively.”

Source: Tech.eu and press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: Europe

Status: Official

6 October 2021

IAC’s Dotdash agrees to buy Meredith’s national media business including People magazine

By William Turvill

Digital publishing giant IAC has agreed to buy Meredith’s national media assets, including People, Better Homes & Gardens and Allrecipes, for around $2.7bn.

The deal, announced today and expected to close by the end of this year, will see IAC’s publishing division, Dotdash, acquire Meredith’s National Media Group. Meredith has already agreed a deal to sell the rest of its business, Local Media Group, to Gray Televsion.

The combined IAC division will be called Dotdash Meredith and is expected to reach more than 175m online consumers a month, including 95% of women in the US.

IAC has agreed to pay $42.18 per share of Meredith’s national media assets. Bloomberg reported that this values the deal at $2.7bn.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $2.7bn

Country: US

Status: Official

6 October 2021

Readly buys Toutabo, owner of ePresse

By Charlotte Tobitt

Subscription newspaper and magazine bundler Readly has bought Toutabo, which owns the French digital subscription provider ePresse.

Readly said the acquisition, due to complete at the end of October, gave it a market leading position in France, which it said was the largest magazine market in Europe. It will gain a French content portfolio of more than 1,000 magazines and 300 newspapers from around 280 publishers.

Readly chief executive Maria Hedengren said: “Entering the French market has been a strategic priority for some time. Through the acquisition we establish a leading position in France overnight with a local team, strong relationships with publishers and great commercial partners.

“With leading positions in the major European markets we are well positioned for continued growth and expansion.”

Source: Readly

Deal size: €8.2m

Country: France

Status: Confirmed

30 September 2021

Chicago Sun-Times in talks to merge with WBEZ radio

By William Turvill

Chicago Public Media, the owner of local radio station WBEZ, is in talks to acquire the city’s Sun-Times newspaper.

Both organisations have signed a “non-binding letter of intent while they explore joining together,” Chicago Public Media said in a statement.

It said the proposed deal would create “create one of the largest local nonprofit news organisations in the nation and be a national model for the future of local journalism”.

The Chicago Sun-Times, one of the cities two daily newspapers along with the Tribune, is currently owned by a “coalition of businesspeople, philanthropists and labour organisations that is committed to keeping Chicago one of the world’s most vibrant cities for quality journalism”.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

24 September 2021

Micro-payments platform Axate raises £350k via Crowdcube

By Dominic Ponsford

Micro-payments platform Axate has raised more than £350,000 via crowdsourced funding platform Crowdcube.

David Montgomery’s JPI Media is among the investors as is former Wall Street Journal chief executive Will Lewis. The crowdsourced share-offer has given away 3% equity in the business, giving it a valuation of £11.3m.

Axate offers a pay-per-article and day pass system which is in operation on 15 sites.

Axate founder Dominic Young said: “I love that Axate is being funded by – and might ultimately be owned by – a network of our stakeholders (publishers and readers). Our project is about a network approach to monetisation, which will lead to a network approach to publishing and if our ownership is also the same network, how neat would that be?”

Source: Axate/Crowdcube

Deal size: £350,000

Country: UK

Status: Confirmed

23 September 2021

IAC in talks to buy Meredith for $2.5bn+

By William Turvill

Digital publishing company IAC is reported to be in advanced talks to acquire magazine giant Meredith. The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal could be worth more than $2.5bn.

The deal would see IAC – the owner of Brides, Dotdash and Investopedia – add Meredith’s established titles including People and InStyle to its portfolio.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Deal size: $2.5bn+

Country: US

Status: Rumour

22 September 2021

The Athletic hires bankers to find $750m suitor

By William Turvill

The Athletic has hired bankers as it seeks to sell itself for more than $750m, according to a report by the Information. The sports news site has reportedly instructed investment bank LionTree to find a suitor.

The Athletic was previously reported to be in deal talks with both the New York Times and Axios (see details below on this page).

Source: The Information

Deal size: $750m

Country: US

Status: Rumour

22 September 2021

DMG Media Ireland seeks to buy Business Plus owner

By Charlotte Tobitt

DMG Media Ireland, the DMGT subsidiary which operates the Irish Daily Mail, Irish Mail on Sunday and Mail Online Ireland, has notified the competition watchdog of its intention to buy the B2B publisher behind the Business Plus magazine and Biz Plus website.

DMG wants to take sole control of Irish company Nalac Limited. Business Plus editor Nick Mulcahy is its majority shareholder.

Source: Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Deal size: Unknown

Country: Ireland

Status: Official

21 September 2021

Industry Dive buys pharma title

By William Turvill

Industry Dive, the publisher of several specialist B2B sites, has acquired PharmaVOICE. The deal, reported by Axios today, marks Industry Dive’s fourth acquisition in the past 18 months.

Industry Dive’s chief executive told Axios that the business publisher, founded in 2012, is now on course to generate revenues of $80m this year.

Source: Axios

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Official

15 September 2021

DMGT completes sale of RMS

By Charlotte Tobitt 

DMGT has completed the sale of its insurance risk business RMS to Moody’s Corporation for around £1.425m in cash.

The sale satisfies another of the pre-conditions for DMGT owner Lord Rothermere to potentially take the Mail, Metro and i owner private, following on from the listing of Cazoo Group Ltd last month.

Discussions around DMGT’s three pension schemes in relation to their funding arrangements continue as the remaining pre-condition of Lord Rothermere’s proposal.

Source: Press release

Deal size: £1.425m

Country: UK

Status: Official

15 September 2021

SmartNews raises $230 million at a $2 billion valuation

By Charlotte Tobitt

Japanese news discovery app SmartNews has raised $230m in Series F round funding at a $2bn valuation, according to Axios. This means the company’s value has essentially doubled in just over two years and takes its total capital raised to more than $400m.

Source: Axios

Deal size: $230m

Country: US

Status: Official

14 September 2021

Fox Corp buys TMZ

By Charlotte Tobitt

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Entertainment has bought showbiz brand TMZ from WarnerMedia.

Fox said the deal gave it “the opportunity to further market and monetize the TMZ brand across its station group; ad-supported streamer, Tubi; and other Fox-owned platforms”.

Harvey Levin, who founded TMZ in 2005, will continue to oversee day-to-day operations as managing editor and report to Rob Wade, Fox Entertainment’s president of alternative entertainment and specials.

Levin said: “We couldn’t be more charged. Fox Entertainment is opening up a world of opportunities for TMZ to grow our current platforms and expand in every which way.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Official

10 September 2021

GlobalData buys life sciences arm of IHS Markit

By William Turvill

Data and information company GlobalData has acquired the life sciences business of IHS Markit. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is expected to complete before the end of 2021.

Mike Danson, the chief executive of GlobalData who also owns Press Gazette publisher New Statesman Media Group, said: “The Life Sciences acquisition represents a strategic bolt-on to our already strong pharmaceuticals data, insights and analytics services.

“The addition of drug pricing data, as well as other critical Life Sciences data and analysis, further confirms our industry leading breadth and depth in the pharmaceuticals space.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Official

7 September 2021

Vox Media buys podcast industry title

By William Turvill

Vox Media has bought Hot Pod, a news outlet for the podcast industry, reports Variety.

Hot Pod will become the first paid subscription product of the Verge, Vox’s technology site, according to the report.

The deal comes shortly after Vox media acquired Punch, a drinks and cocktail culture website, from Penguin Random House (see report below from 23 August).

Vox Media, which also publishes Vox, New York Magazine and Vulture, is one of a number of digital media companies currently considering plans to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Source: Variety

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Official

3 September 2021

Roar B2B buys Environment Media Group

By Dominic Ponsford

UK-based events and media group Roar B2B has announced acquisition of Environment Media Group Ltd (EMG).

EMG publishes Letsrecyle.com as well as magazines and newsletters. It also provides design services and hosts events and awards.

Roar is an events company focused around business technology, social care and environment.

Source: Roar  B2B

Deal size: £5m (reported)

Country: UK

Status: Confirmed

31 August 2021

Vice raises $85m but SPAC talks end

By William Turvill

Vice Media has raised $85m from its existing investors after its talks to go public ended, according to a report by the Information.

Vice was expected to enter the public market this year through a merger with 7GC & Co, a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). But, according to the Information, this deal is no longer on the cards.

The Information also today reports that Vice’s co-founder and chairman, Shane Smith, has agreed to give up his voting control of the company as part of its new fundraising agreement.

Source: The Information

Deal size: $85m

Country: US

Status: Report

26 August 2021

Dylan Howard buys Knewz from News Corporation

By William Turvill

Empire Media Group, the new business of controversial media executive Dylan Howard, has announced the acquisition of Knewz from News Corporation.

Rupert Murdoch’s media giant launched Knewz, an aggregation site, as a potential rival to Google News in January 2020. It gave up on the venture in July this year.

Confirming reports from earlier this month, EMG today said it has acquired and relaunched the Knewz brand.

EMG, led by former America Media Inc boss Howard,  has completed several digital acquisitions this year. In addition to Knewz, it publishes RadarOnline.com, OKmagazine.com and Front Page Detectives.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

26 August 2021

Forbes to go public through $630m SPAC deal

By William Turvill

Forbes Media is to go public in a deal valuing the business news publisher at $630m.

Forbes plans to merge with Magnum Opus Acquisition Limited, a special-purpose acquisition company, in the fourth quarter of this year or in the first quarter of 2022.

Forbes’ current majority shareholder, Integrated Whale Media Investments, was reported to be in talks to sell the business to GSV Asset Management earlier this year.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $630m

Country: US/ Hong Kong

Status: Official

26 August 2021

Axel Springer buys Politico

By William Turvill

German publishing giant Axel Springer has announced the acquisition of Politico.

The deal size was not disclosed, but CNBC reported that it is worth around $1bn, citing sources.

It emerged earlier this month (see below) that Axel Springer was in talks to buy Politico.

The publisher, which also owns Insider and Morning Brew in the US, was reported to be in talks to acquire Axios earlier in the summer. According to CNBC, this deal is no longer on the cards.

As part of its takeover, Axel Springer will also be buying tech news website Protocol and the remaining 50% of Politico Europe, which it launched in 2014 as a joint venture with Politico.

Robert Allbritton, the founder of Politico and Protocol, will continue as publisher of the brands after the sale completes.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Reportedly around $1bn

Country: Germany/ US

Status: Official

23 August 2021

Phillips Media Group buys Baxter Bulletin from Gannett

By Dominic Ponsford

Baxter Bulletin in the US has been bought by Phillips Media Group, some 26 years after it was bought by US local news giant Gannett.

Rupert E Phillips is a former publisher of the Baxter Bulletin, described as a local “paper of record”. He has previously bought New York Spanish language newspaper El Diario from Gannett.

Source: Baxter Bulletin

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

23 August 2021

Vox Media buys Punch

By William Turvill

Vox Media has announced the acquisition of Punch, a drinks and cocktail culture website, from Penguin Random House. The deal will see Punch added to Vox Media’s Eater portfolio of food and drink brands.

Vox Media is the publisher of sites including Vox, New York Magazine, the Verge, Vulture and Recode. It is one of a number of digital media companies currently reported to be considering plans to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

20 August 2021

Nexstar buys the Hill for $130m

By William Turvill

Nexstar Media, a US local TV giant, has bought political news website the Hill for $130m.

The Hill attracted an average 48m monthly users and 2.2bn page views in 2020, according to Comscore. Led by chairman Jimmy Finkelstein, the website employs more than 100 journalists. According to Axios’ sources, the Hill generated revenues of $40m last year and made a profit of $10m.

Prior to the Nexstar deal, HRS Management was the Hill’s largest investor.

Axios previously reported on talks between Nexstar and the Hill (see below on this page).

Source: Press release

Deal size: $130m

Country: US

Status: Official

17 August 2021

Forbes in talks to go public through SPAC deal

By William Turvill

Forbes Media is in talks to merge with a Magnum Opus, a Hong Kong-based special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), according to Bloomberg. The deal would reportedly value the business news publisher at more than $650m.

Hong Kong’s Integrated Whale Media Investments, Forbes’ owner since 2014, was previously reported to be in talks to sell the business to GSV Asset Management.

Source: Bloomberg

Deal size: $650m

Country: Hong Kong/US

Status: Rumour

16 August 2021

Axel Springer in talks to buy Politico

By William Turvill

German publishing giant Axel Springer is in talks to buy Politico, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ reports that the talks, which could fall through, may end in Axel Springer buying an ownership stake in Politico or taking full control of the company.

Axel Springer, which owns US publisher Insider, is already a partner of Politico. Together, they operate Politico Europe as a joint venture.

Earlier this year, Axel Springer was reported to be in talks to buy Axios.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Deal size: Unknown

Country: Germany/US

Status: Rumour

16 August 2021

Future buys Dennis for £300m 

By Charlotte Tobitt

Future has bought Dennis Publishing for £300m from Exponent, the private equity firm that bought it in 2018.

The titles included in the deal 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.

Viz, Fortean Times, Cyclist and Expert Reviews have not been bought by Future and will be retained by Broadleaf Group, the holding company of Autovia and formerly Dennis following Exponent’s separation of the businesses.

Source: Future

Deal size: £300m

Country: UK

Status: Official

12 August 2021

Reddit valued at $10bn in latest funding round

By William Turvill

Message board website Reddit has been valued at $10bn in its latest investment round. The company just raised $410m, adding to $250m of investment it received earlier this year. The New York Times reports more details in its interview with CEO Steve Huffman.

Source: New York Times

Deal size: $410m

Country: US

Status: Announced

10 August 2021

WarnerMedia in talks to sell TMZ to Fox

By William Turvill

WarnerMedia, a division of AT&T, is in talks to sell celebrity news business TMZ to Fox, according to the Information. The reported talks come after AT&T agreed to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery, a deal that is expected to complete next year.

Source: The Information

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Rumour

10 August 2021

Integral Ad Science buys Publica

By William Turvill

Integral Ad Science, an advertising verification company, has bought Publica, a connected TV ad platform, for $220m.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $220m

Country: US

Status: Announced

10 August 2021

DMGT extends deadline on possible £810m privatisation

By Charlotte Tobitt

Mail, Metro and i publisher DMGT has secured a deadline extension on owner Lord Rothermere’s possible bid to de-list his media properties.

DMGT has reached agreement of the terms of the sale and sold its insurance risk business RMS in preparation but still needs to meet other pre-conditions including the completion of its sale of online car retailer Cazoo.

Lord Rothermere must now announce either his firm intention to take the titles private or that he does not plan to make an offer by 30 September. The original deadline was 9 August.

Source: DMGT

Deal size: £810m

Country: UK

Status: Official

6 August 2021

DMGT sells insurance risk business RMS to Moody’s 

By Charlotte Tobitt

Mail, Metro and i publisher DMGT has sold its insurance risk business RMS to Moody’s Corporation.

DMGT had owned RMS since 1998 but is divesting business investments as it paves the way for controlling shareholder Lord Rothermere to take the company private in a deal worth £810m.

DMGT chief executive Paul Zwillenberg said: “The sale of RMS marks another major milestone in DMGT’s transformation. It is the culmination of our strategy of investment in businesses combined with active portfolio management.

“Organic investment in RMS’s software, data, data analytics, models and applications has created substantial shareholder value, particularly over the last few years as the team has delivered the accelerated product development programme.”

Source: DMGT

Deal size: £1.425m in cash

Country: UK

Status: Official

3 August 2021

iCrossing buys Mediablaze

By Charlotte Tobitt

Hearst Magazines-owned global marketing agency iCrossing has acquired Mediablaze, a London-based digital experience and content marketing agency. It had already taken a minority stake in the business in 2016.

Mediablaze will join iCrossing’s UK office and together they will offer clients full-service marketing solutions.

Hearst Magazines president Debi Chirichella said: “With the digital acceleration brands have seen over the past year, there is a growing demand for complete marketing solutions that can offer engaging and impactful digital experiences and this investment positions us to deliver industry-leading solutions for our clients.”

Mediablaze chief executive Paul Button added: “The joining of our businesses will combine Mediablaze’s digital experience capability with iCrossing UK’s powerful media and customer insights, creating a best-in-class agency solution that will help clients transform and accelerate their digital business.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Official

2 August 2021

News Corp agrees $1.15bn deal for Oil Price Information Service

By William Turvill

Publishing giant News Corp has announced a $1.15bn deal to buy the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) from S&P Global and IHS Markit.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $1.15bn

Country: US

Status: Announced

2 August 2021

Responsible Investor publisher bought by PEI

By Charlotte Tobitt

Responsible Investor publisher Response Global Media, which also organises ESG events and runs the Responsible Company membership programme, has been bought by information and events provider PEI.

All staff at the independent publishing company, launched in 2007 by co-founders and joint managing directors Hugh Wheelan and Tony Hay, are being kept on following the deal.

PEI chief executive Tim McLoughlin said: “In RGM we see huge potential to build on the growth of strongly established, high-quality subscription brands and to increase our presence in a key growth area of the market.”

Source: Responsible Investor

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Official

29 July 2021

Substack buys public debate platform

By William Turvill

Newsletter platform Substack has acquired Letter, a startup website for public debate, Digiday reports.

Source: Digiday

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Official

28 July 2021

Swiss partner buys out Axel Springer in Central/ Eastern Europe

By William Turvill

Swiss publisher Ringier is buying out the assets of its partner, Axel Springer, in Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Ringier and Axel Springer have operated a joint venture in Central and Eastern Europe – Ringier Axel Springer Media – since July 2010.

This deal breaks up much of that joint venture, although the companies will retain their partnership in Poland.

Axel Springer’s news division will now focus on its three key markets – Germany (where it owns titles including Bild and Welt), the US (where it owns Insider) and Poland.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: Germany/Switzerland

Status: Announced

26 July 2021

Recurrent buys Futurism

By William Turvill

Fresh from acquiring MEL Magazine (see below), Recurrent Ventures has today announced a deal to buy Futurism from Singularity University.

Founded in 2014, Futurism has grown from Reddit page into a well-known media brand that covers AI, rocket launches, sustainability and genetics. Futurism was previously acquired by Singularity University, a tech company backed by Google and Deloitte, in 2019.

Recurrent is a venture capital-backed digital media company that owns brands including Popular Science, Domino, Outdoor Life, The Drive and Field & Stream.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Announced

23 July 2021

Taboola buys Connexity for $800m

By William Turvill

Taboola, a marketing company that promotes content and advertising on news websites, has announced the acquisition of Connexity, an e-commerce platform. The deal, which comes after Taboola went public through a SPAC deal in June, is worth $800m.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $800m

Country: US

Status: Announced

22 July 2021

Former CBS boss launches SPAC

By William Turvill

Joe Ianniello, a former chief executive of CBS, has launched a new special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). He told the Wall Street Journal that he hopes to raise at least $300m for his venture, Argus, and pursue a merger. Given his background, it would seem likely that Ianniello will target the media sector – a lively SPAC market currently (scroll down for updates on deals involving Buzzfeed, Vice and BDG) – but the Journal said he could look to the telecoms and technology sectors for deals.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Deal size: $300m

Country: US

Status: Announced

22 July 2021

Royal Media makes two acquisitions in two weeks

By William Turvill

Royal Media, a B2B and business information company, has announced two takeovers in quick succession. The company – which has brands in the air freight, financial services, and vehicle finance sectors – bought market intelligence firm Connectivity Business on 20 July. On 14 July, it bought the Foster Report, which covers the oil, electricity, and natural gas markets, from Concentric Energy Publications. In both cases, the sellers were represented by Grimes, McGovern & Associates.

Source: Grimes, McGovern & Associates

Deal sizes: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Announced

21 July 2021

BDG Media makes $150m acquisition ahead of SPAC deal

By William Turvill

Digital media company BDG Media, which publishes titles including Bustle and Input, is buying Some Spider Studios for around $150m, the Wall Street Journal reports. BDG is one of a number of digital media firms expected to go public this year by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (scroll down for details on similar deals involving Buzzfeed and Vice). Some Spider Studios operates parenting websites Scary Mommy, Fatherly and the Dad.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Deal size: $150m

Country: US

Status: Announced

21 July 2021

Video ad tech company Audigent secures $19m venture financing

By Dominic Ponsford

Predictive Pop Inc (doing business as Audigent), a provider of an audience intelligence platform that improves video ad targeting across mobile, social, and over-the-top (OTT) digital television (TV) channels, has secured $19.1m in Series B funding from the Go Philly Fund. In addition, Broadscale Group, Raised in Space, MathCapital, Riverpark Ventures and others also participated in the funding round. Audigent brings the total funding to $33.6 million.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: $19.1m

Country: US

Status: Announced

20 July 2021

Cannabis marketing company MediaJel in merger

By Dominic Ponsford

MediaJel Inc, a provider of advertising and marketing solutions for the cannabis industry, has merged with Foottraffik, a provider of advertising and marketing solutions.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

20 July 2021

Adtech company Adelaide secure $2m venture funding

By Dominic Ponsford

Adelaide, an online advertisement technology firm, has secured $2m in venture funding from a crew of angel investors. Adelaide says its mission is to “quantify the true quality of media through the lens of attention, so marketers can invest more confidently and create incentives in the market for high-quality media”.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: $2m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

20 July 2021

Vice Media’s SPAC talks stall amid valuation questions

By William Turvill

Vice Media’s plans to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) have stalled, according to The Information. The report states that Vice is struggling to raise enough financing for the deal amid questions about its valuation. The Information reports that Vice was expected to be valued at around $2.5bn (a large reduction on the $5.7bn valuation it earned in 2017) but that this now appears ambitious.

Source: The Information

Deal size: $2.5bn?

Country: US

Status: Rumour

16 July 2021

WordPress and Tumblr owner buys Pocket Casts

By William Turvill

Automattic, the owner of WordPress and Tumblr, today announced the acquisition of Pocket Casts. The podcast company was previously owned by a group of public broadcasters in the US, including NPR and BBC Studios America. Current reported that Pocket Casts had been put up for sale in January.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

16 July 2021

Virtual venue company Fly Machine secures $21m venture funding

By Dominic Ponsford

Flymachine, a US-based new virtual venue for live entertainment which delivers a first-of-its-kind immersive social experience, has secured $21 million in venture funding, led by Greycroft Partners and SignalFire, with additional participation from Primary Venture Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Red Sea Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank. Angel investors joining the round include Coran Capshaw, Bill Silva, Marty Diamond, Larry Webman, Ben Lovett, John Battelle, and LionTree Partners.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: $21m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

16 July 2021

Saudi Research & Media Group buys 51% of podcast platform Thmanyah

By Dominic Ponsford

SMRG owns more than 30 media outlets iuncluding Arab News. Saudi-based Thmanyah operates throughout the wider region.

Source: Flashes and Flames

Deal size: Unknown

Country: Saudi Arabia

Status: Reported

16 July 2021

JD Power buys Superior Integrated Solutions

By Dominic Ponsford

US-based JD Power is a supplier of data, analytics and software to care dealers. Superior Integrated Solutions provides finance and insurance sales software to 7,700 car dealer.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: USA

Status: Confirmed

14 July 2021

Outside buys three new brands to enhance subscription offering

By William Turvill

Outside Media, a growing outdoor pursuits publisher, has announced the acquisition of three new brands – Pinkbike, CyclingTips and Trailforks. Outside has made a number of acquisitions in recent years and is aiming to become a digital subscription powerhouse. Press Gazette interviewed Outside CEO Robin Thurston last month – read more here.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

13 July 2021

Privacy-focused Facebook rival in talks to raise new funds

By William Turvill

MeWe, a privacy-focused social media startup that wants to challenge Facebook, is in talks to raise new funds, Axios today reports. The subscription-based platform is hoping to raise between $10-30m this year, founder Mark Weinstein tells Axios. It is said to be in talks with strategic investors currently, including venture capital and private equity groups.

Source: Axios

Deal size: $10-30m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

12 July 2021

Lord Rothermere could take DMGT private

By Charlotte Tobitt

The owner of the Daily Mail, Metro and i titles could go private as Lord Rothermere considers a bid to de-list his media properties. The deal would be worth £810m.

Find out more here.

Source: DMGT

Deal size: £810m

Country: UK

Status: Confirmed

9 July 2021

AgriBriefing £150m sale mooted

By Dominic Ponsford

UK-based publisher of Farmers Guardian AgriBriefing is reported to be in the advanced stages of a sale. Flashes and Flames reports that New York-based Ares Management Corp is looking to sell the business it bought for £100m in 2019. Euromoney has signalled its interest in agriculture and has been mooted as one likely buyer.

In February this year AgriBriefing bought Tallage SAS a France-based provider of grain, oilseeds, darum wheat, biofuels and barley intelligence.

“AgriBriefing was formed in 2012 with a mission to provide information, news, market data, pricing benchmarks and networks across the global agribusiness supply chain. These markets are often opaque and fragmented but are becoming ever more international and interconnected. There is an ever-increasing need for information and data to help market participants operate more efficiently.”

Source: Flashes and Flames

Deal size: $150m

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

9 July 2021

Nielsen buys adtech company TVTY

By Dominic Ponsford

Media audience analytics company Neilsen Holdings has acquired France-based advertising technology company TVTY.

TVTY offers customers technology which enables them to optimise their advertising spend on TV campaigns.

Nielsen said the deal will help marketers to better plan and optimise their marketing spend. TVTY says its technology helps advertisers optimise their TV ad sepnd based on business outcomes.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US/France

Status: Confirmed

7 July 2021

Psychedelic media company gets high response to funding round

By Dominic Ponsford

Canada-based Microdose Psychedelic Insights has closed a seven-figure over-subscribed round of seed funding.

The company provides news, financial analysis and events aimed to “drive the psychedelics industry into the forefront of modern medicine”.

It has received funding from Origin Therapeutics, Negev Capital and The Conscious Fund. As part of the transaction, Charlie Finnie, CEO of Origin Therapeutics joins as a board member.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: $1m+

Country: Canada

Status: Confirmed

7 July 2021

Recurrent Ventures buys MEL Magazine from Dollar Shave Club

By William Turvill

Recurrent Ventures has announced the acquisition of men’s lifestyle title MEL Magazine from the Dollar Shave Club. The deal will revive MEL, which halted publication earlier this year when its financial relationship with Dollar Shave Club was ended. Recurrent is a venture capital-backed digital media company that owns brands including Popular Science, Domino, Outdoor Life, The Drive and Field & Stream.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

 2 July 2021

Ladbible considers stock market listing

By Charlotte Tobitt

Youth publisher Ladbible is reportedly considering either a stock market listing or a partial sale.

Sky News reported it has appointed Zeus Capital to help it look at its strategic options but a decision may not be made for months yet.

Source: Sky News

Deal size: £350-400m

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

 28 June 2021

Group Rossel and DPG Media buy RTL Belgium

By Dominic Ponsford

Belgium-based Groupe Rossel and DPG Media has agreed to buy TV and radio business RTL Belgium from Euros 250m ($300m).

DPG said: “The new shareholders will additionally focus on accelerating the digital transformation of RTL Belgium’s radio and television channels. Long-form and short-form online video are fast-growing segments that offer numerous opportunities for television companies. The development of digital radio and podcasting present similar opportunities for radio.”

JP Morgan acted as adviser to RTL Group on the deal.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: Euros 250m ($300m)

Country: Belgium

Status: Confirmed

 30 June 2021

Taboola goes public

By Dominic Ponsford

Content recommendation platform Taboola goes public today with a listing on the Nasdaq exchange in the US under the ticket TBLA.

The company was valued at $2.6bn following its merger with ION, a special acquisition company.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $2.6bn

Country: US

Status: Complete

 25 June 2021

Pageant Media pays ‘$20m’ for Hedge Fund Alert

By Dominic Ponsford

US-based Green Street has sold online news website Hedge Fund Alert to UK-based Pageant Media.

The US site has been running for 20 years aiming to give an early take on deals and intelligence in the world of hedge funds in the US. Pageant already runs HFM and Eurekahedge.

Hedge Fund Alert is the fourth acquisition to be completed since Intermediate Capital Group bought a majority stake in Pageant Media in February 2020.

Pageant employs 350 staff and has turnover of around £30m a year.

Deal size: $20m (estimate from Flashes and Flames)

Country: UK acquirer, US target

Status: Confirmed

Source: press release.

24 June 2021

US streaming giants named as candidates to buy Channel 4 from UK government

By William Turvill

The UK government this week confirmed plans to hold a consultation on whether to privatise broadcaster Channel 4. The Times, citing an interview with media minister John Whittingdale, reports that US streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon could be candidates. Foreign ownership of Channel 4 would be controversial in the UK, but Whittingdale did not rule the streaming giants out as potential buyers.

Source: The Times

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

23 June 2021

Buzzfeed could announce long-anticipated deal to go public this week

By William Turvill

Buzzfeed appears to be on the verge of confirming its long-anticipated plans to go public. The Wall Street Journal today reports that CEO Jonah Peretti could announce Buzzfeed’s merger with 890 5th Avenue Partners, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), as soon as this week.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Rumour

22 June 2021

The Hill is seeking a buyer and has been in talks with Nexstar

By William Turvill

US political news website the Hill is looking for a buyer, according to Axios. Owner Jimmy Finkelstein has reportedly ramped up his efforts to sell the outlet. Axios reports that the Hill has recently been in talks with broadcasting giant Nexstar Media Group.

Source: Axios

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Rumour

22 June 2021

Podcast tech company WaitWhat raises $12m

By Dominic Ponsford

WaitWhat has closed a funding round which has seen it raise $12m to invest in its content production and research efforts to break new ground in digital formats. Podcasts such as “Masters of Scale” and “Meditative Story” have been downloaded more than 70m times. It plans to look into new creative ways to create audio and video content which includes content around fitness and parenting.

Source: TechCrunch

Deal size: $12m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

 

 

18 June 2021

Meltwater buys Owler for $24.5m

By Dominic Ponsford

High tech press cuttings and media analytics company Meltwater has bought crow-sourcing business information company Owler for $24.5m.

Owler claims to be the second largest business community in the world and says it has 5m business people contributing to its 14m company profiles.

Meltwater CEO John Box said: “Combining this proprietary information from Owler with the insights that Meltwater is able to extract from online news and social media will differentiate Meltwater’s product in the market and bring great value to our 27,000 customers globally.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: $24.5m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

18 June 2021

UK government could privatise Channel 4 next year

By William Turvill

The UK government is lining up Channel 4 for privatisation and could sell it off as soon as next year, reports the Financial Times.

Source: Financial Times

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

18 June 2021

Response Global Media ‘sold’ to PEI Media for £12m

By Dominic Ponsford

Response Global Media publishes Responsible Investor and says of itself: “Our aim is to lead strategic, sustainable change in financial markets through thought-leadership, proprietary journalism, events and community building amongst business professionals.”

Responsible Investor describes itself as a newswire dedicated to responsible investment, ESG and sustainable finance with a global subscriber base.

PEI Media publishes Private Equity International and was itself acquired by asset management group Bridgepoint for £120m three years ago, Flashes and Flames reports.

Source: Flashes and Flames

Deal size: £12m

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

17 June 2021

New York Times and Athletic end acquisition talks

By William Turvill

The New York Times has ended talks to buy subscription sports news website the Athletic, according to the Information. The two parties reportedly could not agree on a fair price.

Source: The Information

Deal size: N/A

Country: US

Status: Rumour

15 June 2021

Spotify agrees $60m deal for ‘Call Her Daddy’ podcast

By William Turvill

Spotify has agreed to deal so that it can exclusively host Alex Cooper’s ‘Call Her Daddy’ podcast. Variety reports that the three-year deal is worth more than $60m.

Source: Press release/ Variety

Deal size: $60m

Country: US

Status: Official

15 June 2021

Mark Allen Group buys 13 B2B titles from RELX

By Dominic Ponsford

Mark Allen Group has purchased 13 titles from Elsevier Ltd, part of RELX Group.

This deal comprises four magazines – Metal Powder Report, Reinforced Plastics, World Pumps and Filtration & Separation – and nine newsletters: Additives for Polymers, Biometric Technology Today, Computer Fraud and Security, Filtration Industry Analyst, Fuel Cells Bulletin, Membrane Technology, Network Security, Pump Industry Analyst and Sealing Technology.

Chairman Mark Allen said: “During the past 15 months since lockdown our company has weathered the pandemic storm exceptionally well. The 2020-21 financial year, which we will be reporting in the autumn, will be a record year. It is now time for us to make sure we move forward again. This Elsevier portfolio, with a combination of institutional and corporate subscriptions, as well as advertising, offers us an excellent opportunity to provide these publications with the additional care and attention that we can provide.”

Mark Allen Group publishes more than 100 magazines and also runs awards and events in 12 different sectors. In 2019/20 it reported EBIDTA of £8.4m on turnover of £54.6m

In February 2020 Mark Allen Group completed the purchase of Farmers’ Weekly from Elsevier.

In 2019 MAG bought 12 B2B transport magazines from UKI Media and Events, as well as the 163-year-old The Engineer magazine and its associated event Subcon from Centaur Media.

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Announced

Reuters/Brendan McDermid

10 June 2021

Buzzfeed to raise $200m in bonds ahead of SPAC deal

By William Turvill

Buzzfeed is rumoured to be planning a public listing by merging with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The Information reports that Buzzfeed is in talks to raise $200 in convertible bonds to add to cash it will raise through the SPAC deal. This $200m will be used to fund a planned acquisition of digital lifestyle publisher Complex Networks, according to the Information.

Source: The Information

Deal size: $200m

Country: US

Status: Rumour

10 June 2021

Sinclair raising $250m for sports streaming push

By William Turvill

Sinclair Broadcast Group is seeking to raise $250m to fund a new sports streaming venture, the New York Post reports. Investment bank LionTree is said to be working on the fundraiser for Sinclair.

Source: New York Post

Deal size: $250m

Country: US

Status: Rumour

Image8 June 2021

Sports Illustrated publisher Maven raises $20m and buys the Spun

By Dominic Ponsford

Sports Illustrated publisher Maven has raised $20m and bought athletics news website the Spun.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $20m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

8 June 2021

Morning Consult raises $60m in new funding

By William Turvill

Morning Consult, a polling, data and research firm, has raised $60m in series B funding. The deal values the company at more than $1bn, according to Axios.

Source: Axios

Deal size: $60m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

Image6 June 2021

The Week magazine put up for sale by Dennis Publishing

By William Turvill

News and current affairs magazine The Week has been put up for sale by Dennis Publishing, according to Sky News. Dennis, owned by Exponent Private Equity, has reportedly hired bankers from LionTree Advisors to handle the sale process.

Source: Sky News

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

3 June 2021

Blackstone buys PC World publisher IDG

By William Turvill

Blackstone, a US private equity giant, has agreed to buy tech media company International Data Group (IDG) for $1.3bn from Oriental Rainbow, a subsidiary of China Oceanwide Holdings Group. IDG is the publisher of brands including PC World and Mac World.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $1.3bn

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

3 June 2021

Press Gazette publishes first Media Deals Tracker monthly round-up for May 2021

By William Turvill

For our first Media Deals Tracker, we compiled details of 30 completed, agreed or rumoured deals through May 2021.

1 June 2021

UK government explores sale of Channel 4

By William Turvill

The UK government is considering a sale of Channel 4, the Times reports.

Source: The Times

Deal value: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Rumour