When is a Book Not a Book? – September 2013 M&A Activity
Fortress Investment Group, through an affiliate, purchased The Dow Jones Local Media Group, publisher of eight daily and 15 weekly community newspapers. Fortress handed the management of its new acquisition over to GateHouse Media, one of its other portfolio companies, which itself publishes more than 400 community and local newspapers and shoppers. It became clear later in the month as to at least one reason that Fortress used a different entity to purchase the Dow Jones Media Group when it placed GateHouse Media and 41 related entities into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In a concurrent filing of a prepackaged reorganization exit plan, the company has requested the Court’s approval of the elimination of approximately $720 million debt, for which it claims to have sufficient lenders on board. If approved, the plan of reorganization calls for GateHouse Media and Local Media Group to be combined under the common ownership of New Media Investment Group.
Harte-Hanks exited The Shoppers, which includes the iconic PennySaver brand in California and Florida. The coupon shopper company, with a reported revenue of over $200 million, was picked up for what appears to be a bargain price of $22.5 million. The buyer, OpenGate Capital of Los Angeles, has previously, and it claims successfully, ventured into the world of declining print circulation with its 2008 purchase of TV Guide. The private equity fund announced that it is “enthusiastic about media, publishing and advertising businesses in the U.S.”
In the packaging space, deals were back on the log after an absence in August, as Multi-Color Corporation continued its international expansion with two acquisitions in Europe: wet-glue spirits label printer John Watson & Company in Glasgow, Scotland, and wine label printer Gern & CIE in Neuchatel, Switzerland. Back in the USA, label printer I.D. Images of Brunswick, Ohio, acquired label printer Hi-Tech Printing of Cincinnati, Ohio.
We found no bankruptcy filings of printing companies during September, and for the first time in the two years that we have been tracking filings, we did not find any Chapter 7 liquidations in the printing or related industries. Publishing did not fare so well, however, with the aforementioned bankruptcy of GateHouse Media; and after struggling for years to survive the transition of its content to the internet, FriendFinder Networks, the publisher of Penthouse magazine, filed bankruptcy.
|2013 September - Mergers and Acquisitions in the Printing, Packaging, Paper & Related Industries|
Deal Party #1