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Wasserstein Closes on Acquisition of Primedia Business Unit


New York, NY –  On October 3rd, eight weeks after Wasserstein & Co. LP announced plans to acquire Primedia Inc.’s business information segment, the sale was completed for  $385 MIL in cash.  Estimates place the multiple at 10.6x EBITDA.  Wasserstein, along with investment partners Highfields Capital Management and Lexington Partners, acquired the business through PBI Media Holdings, Inc., an entity controlled by Wasserstein through its U.S. Equity Partners II, LP investment partnership.

PBI Media Holdings will announce its new company name soon.

Wasserstein is also part of the investment group which acquired  Hanley Wood for $650 MIL on August 1st. (Read more in the Vault of Trade Show Executive magazine at ).

Primedia’s Business Information segment produces 25 events, 70 publications, 100 web sites and other products. The company serves industries ranging  from Agriculture to Health Services, and from Marketing to Waste & Recycling.   WasteExpo is the company’s largest show, and drew 445 exhibitors and over 7,800 buyers to its May 2005 event held in Las Vegas.  Margaret Pederson is President of Primedia Business Exhibitions and the Immediate Past Chairman of the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO).

PBI has 15 offices across the U.S., including four in California (Emeryville, Irvine, Pacific Palisades, and San Jose); Overland, KS; Greenwood Village, CO; Stamford, CT; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL ;Indianapolis, IN; Southfield, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Clarksdale, MS; New York, NY; and Houston, TX.

In conjunction with the sale, John French has been promoted to President & CEO of PBI Media Holdings. He  will continue to have strategic, product, operational and revenue responsibility for PBI’s portfolio of products. Additionally, Andrea Persily has been promoted to CFO & COO. The other senior members of PBI’s current management team will remain in place.

In 2004, Primedia Business generated $224.8 MIL, which resulted in a 1.5% increase over 2003 and an EBITDA of $37.4 MIL for the year. Figures for the exhibition division were not available.

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.

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.

Wasserstein’s other portfolio investments include IMAX Theater Group in the media, entertainment and publishing sector; Maybelline and Odwalla in the branded food/consumer products sector; and Louisiana Intrastate Gas in the energy sector.

Credit Suisse First Boston acted as advisor to Primedia in the transaction and Jones Day provided legal representation to Wasserstein.

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

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