Advanstar to Sell Nearly 25% of its Portfolio — Tech, Travel, Home Entertainment Groups — to New Exhibition Firm

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New York, NY – Advanstar Communications, Inc. announced today that it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell  its Information Technology & Communications, Travel & Hospitality, Beauty, Home Entertainment, and Abilities and Portfolio groups for $185 million in cash to Questex Media Group. The  new company, founded by the Audax Group, an investment firm, will  be headed by Kerry Gumas, presently Vice President and General Manager of Advanstar’s Information Technology & Communications Group, who becomes President and CEO of Questex, and Tom Caridi,  a former executive of Reed Exhibitions and Reed Business Information, who becomes CFO. These groups of events, magazines and other related media generated about $100 million in revenues in 2004 for Advanstar,  nearly one fourth of the firm’s total 2004 revenues.

Advanstar keeps its Fashion/License, Power Sports/Automotive and Life Sciences (Healthcare, Science and Pharmaceutical) groups, which generated approximately $275 million in 2004. Joe Loggia, President and CEO of Advanstar, says the move is a “transforming opportunity” for Advanstar.   Proceeds from the transaction will be used to develop its core business; acquire additional shows and publications;  and pay down debt.

Advanstar’s key executives will stay including Jim Alic, Eric Lisman, Alex DeBarr, Danny Phillips, Annie Callahan, Laura McConnell, Steve Morris, and Helen Gardner.

The transaction is expected to close quickly – by the end of the month. The company  plans to discuss the transaction in detail in a conference call on May 5th  for  its First Quarter earnings report.

Advanstar is a diversified media firm  that produces  54 exhibitions, 77 business magazines and a wide range of electronic media. The company has roughly 1,500 employees  and offices throughout the U.S. (New York; Woodlands Hills, CA; Santa Ana, CA;  Duluth, MN; Cleveland, OH; and others) as well as in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

The Audax Group, founded in 1999, is based in Boston and New York and manages over $1 billion in equity and mezzanine debt capital.

A broker was not used for the transaction.

Reach Joe Loggia at (818) 593-5000 or jloggia@advanstar.com; Kerry Gumas at (617)219-8320 or kgumas@advanstar.com; Tom Caridi at (617)219-8331 or tcaridi@agberry.com.

For more info on Advanstar Communications, go to www.advanstar.com; for more on the Audax Group,  go to www.audaxgroup.com

 

Additional coverage will be provided throughout the day….