ALM Properties, Inc.
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ALM Sold to Incisive MediaDeal expected to close at the end of the third quarter
ALM, the parent company of Law.com and publisher of The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal and 30 other national and regional publications, will be sold to London-based Incisive Media for $630 million, according to an announcement Thursday by the two companies. Incisive CEO Tim Weller and ALM CEO William Pollak called the sale an opportunity to expand ALM's business internationally and on the Internet.
The American Lawyer2007-07-06 12:00:00 AM
ALM, publisher of The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal and 30 other national and regional publications, will be sold to London-based Incisive Media for $630 million, according to a joint announcement Thursday by the two companies.
Both Incisive CEO Tim Weller and ALM CEO William Pollak characterized the sale as an opportunity to expand ALM's business internationally and on the Internet. The deal, which is expected to close at the end of the third quarter, will leave ALM's management intact.
Incisive, which has annual revenue of $280 million, is a rapidly growing business-to-business publisher with operations in New York, London and Hong Kong. "One of the main ideas here was to bring our brand of legal journalism to Europe and Asia," said Pollak. "Until now, we haven't had that platform."
Incisive is backed by Apax Partners, a $20 billion private equity fund that supported Weller's $550 million buyout of the company in December 2006.
"With the appetite of Apax to put more equity at work," said Weller, "hopefully [ALM] will see deeper growth than under Wasserstein [& Co.]," which managed the private equity fund that has owned ALM since 1997.
Apax spokesman Ben Harding confirmed that the ALM acquisition called for an additional investment in Incisive from Apax. "It is very much in keeping with [Weller's] stated aim. He wanted to expand the group and expand it quickly," Harding said.
The ALM acquisition will double the size of Incisive, whose holdings include Investment Week, Accountancy Age and London's Legal Week. It is the fourth company Weller has acquired since taking Incisive private.
Weller, who said he has been in discussions to acquire ALM for more than a year, said the company provides "a great platform for expansion" in the United States. He cited such opportunities as legal search engine marketing and coverage of U.S. professional service industries besides the law.
Weller said he intends to maintain ALM's journalism standards. "Content is king," he said. "We are only successful if we produce the best content for the industries we serve."
"They paid $630 million for a company that has some of the best and best-known brands in business publishing," said Pollak, who will join Incisive's board when the deal closes. "So I don't think they intend to tinker with the formula. They can enhance what we offer."
Both Pollak and Weller said that Incisive planned to extend ALM's Internet presence, as it has with previous acquisitions. "We're looking forward to piggybacking on their Internet expertise," said Pollak.
"There's a real opportunity for us to help each other there," added Weller. "Part of [the ALM] management team's aspirations are there."
The support of ALM's management was key to the deal, according to Weller. He said Pollak met with Incisive's leaders in London and New York. "We asked him directly if he would stay on," Weller says. "This is a great brand, a great team of people. We wanted to be married in partnership. This is not Incisive coming in and gobbling up ALM."
Incisive made the winning offer in an auction that drew interest from "a good lineup" of private equity and strategic bidders, said Pollak. The $630 million price, which represents a multiple of 13 times ALM's earnings -- considered high for a business-to-business publisher -- "reflects our position in the market," he added.
Incisive was represented by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in the deal. ALM's counsel was Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.