IHS Inc., a b-to-b information company and publisher of Jane's Defense Weekly, announced last week that it has acquired SRI Consulting, Chemical Week and other chemical and energy information products from Access Intelligence. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal also includes conferences and events, as well as Harriman Chemsult, a market information provider for the chemical industry. Englewood, Colo.-based IHS already had paid information products serving the energy, economics, geopolitical risk, sustainability and supply chain-management sectors.
“This acquisition will help IHS leverage its extensive energy and economic analysis assets within the chemical industry and become a key building block for establishing IHS as a leading chemical industry information provider,” IHS Chairman-CEO Jerre Stead said in a statement.
An IHS spokesperson declined an interview request for this story, citing a “quiet period” before the publicly traded company releases its quarterly results Sept. 22. For its second quarter ended May 31, IHS posted revenue of $266 million, up 13% over the year-earlier period. The company noted that 77% of its revenue came from subscriptions.
Rockville, Md.-based Access Intelligence is owned by private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson. VSS has owned Access Intelligence (formerly PBI Media) for 10 years, an unusually long period for a private equity fund.
Also unusual about the deal was the buyer, IHS, which focuses on information products but in this case also bought advertiser-supported properties, such as Chemical Week.
“I was surprised by the deal,” said Michael Parker, managing director at investment bank AdMedia Partners.
The IHS deal, coupled with Euronext's acquisition in August of Corporate Board Member magazine, shows that b-to-b media properties aren't necessarily being purchased by the usual suspects—large strategic buyers or private equity buyers. Some large strategic buyers, such as Reed Elsevier, are largely exiting the b-to-b media business, and many private equity buyers are dealing with debt-ridden portfolio companies.
“The capital has gone away in our industry. It's hard to get financing,” said Don Pazour, CEO of Access Intelligence. “But I think the fact that IHS bought a business that has a news component is important. IHS has traditionally been a data company.”
The divestment of these products shrinks Access Intelligence significantly. Pazour said 40% of the company's revenue departed to IHS with this deal.
Access Intelligence still offers information products in the health care management, communications and aerospace markets. Its brands include the Aircraft Value News, CableFAX Daily and Defense Daily newsletters.
“This transaction will provide new growth opportunities for our departing colleagues and leave AI debt free and able to focus investment on the growth of some of our less-developed clusters of information and marketing products,” Pazour wrote in a memo to his Access Intelligence colleagues.
Pazour said Access Intelligence plans to grow organically and by acquisition. He said he sees great opportunities in paid content and e-commerce in this time of upheaval in b-to-b media. “I'm having a blast,” he said.