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Primedia Will Sell its Business Unit  to Wasserstein

Renee Diiulio
, Senior Editor
August 8, 2005
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By Renee Di Iulio, Senior Editor, News & Directories

Overland Park, KS — Primedia Inc. announced on August 8th that it will sell its business information segment for $385 MIL to PBI Media Holdings, Inc., an entity controlled by Wasserstein & Co.,  through its U.S. Equity Partners II investment partnership. The transaction is expected to close in the Fourth Quarter after standard regulatory conditions are met.

          Primedia’s Business Information segment produces 25 events, 70 publications, 100 web sites and other products. Industries served range from Agriculture to Health Services, and from Marketing to Waste & Recycling.   WasteExpo is the company’s largest show. The May 2005 event, held in Las Vegas, featured 445 exhibitors and drew over 7,800 buyers,  growing more than 10% over last year. Margaret Pederson is President of Primedia Business Exhibitions.

            According to Folio:  magazine, which reports on the magazine publishing industry, the $385 MIL sale price fell $65 MIL short of the $450 MIL, 12x sales multiple which Primedia had reportedly sought. The magazine reports that the 10.6x multiple actually received was below the 14x EBITDA multiple received for the $650 MIL sale of Hanley Wood. Wasserstein is also part of the investment group that made the HW acquisition.

            Anup Bagaria, Vice Chairman of Wasserstein & Co., notes that Primedia’s products have been leaders in their respective markets. “We look forward to working with the company's talented management team and personnel to build on the company's strong growth momentum," he says.

            Primedia’s President and CEO Kelly P. Conlin notes that the business information segment has successfully reversed poor performance with five quarters of revenue growth. The previous 12 quarters had been in decline.

             In 2004, Primedia Business generated $224.8 MIL, which according to Folio:, resulted in a 1.5% increase over 2003 and an EBITDA of $37.4 MIL for the year. The unit’s first-quarter performance for 2005 was $53.5 MIL, down from last year’s $54.9 MIL. Figures for the exhibition division were not available.

            Conlin attributes the turnaround to the company’s dedicated employees and ability to deliver on operating strategies. "This transaction not only allows us to realize the value of this turnaround, but also to increase our focus on the segments of our business, particularly Enthusiast Media and Consumer Guides, that can be superior sources of long-term value creation,” he says.

Reach Kelly Conlin, President & CEO, Primedia Inc. at (913) 341-1300 or kconlin@primediabusiness.com; Margaret Pederson, President, Primedia Business Exhibitions at (203) 358-3701 or mpederson@primediabusiness.com.

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