Nielsen to sell ‘Hollywood Reporter,' ‘Billboard,' other brands to e5 Global Media

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New York—As expected, Nielsen Business Media announced last Thursday that it has sold The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and six other brands to e5 Global Media, a new company formed jointly by Pluribus Capital Management, a media private equity partnership, and Guggenheim Partners, a financial services firm.

Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close before the end of the year, were not disclosed.

e5 Global Media is also acquiring Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, the Clio Awards, Back Stage and Film Journal International. e5 Global Media is also acquiring the Film Expo business, which includes the ShoWest, ShowEast, Cinema Expo International and CineAsia trade shows.

Separately, Nielsen confirmed that it is closing Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews.

Jimmy Finkelstein, who founded Pluribus Capital with George Green and Matthew Doull, is chairman of e5 Global Media.

“These are unique brands that are already leaders in their respective fields and, with the additional financial and strategic resources that we will provide, they will be positioned to add enhanced content across their print, online and new media channels and to continue to deliver value to their subscribers and advertisers,” Finkelstein and Todd Boehly, managing partner at Guggenheim Partners, said in a joint statement.

Greg Farrar, president of Nielsen Business Media, added in a statement: “Divesting these titles allows Nielsen to focus its investment on its core businesses and those parts of our portfolio that have the greatest potential for growth, including our leading trade show group.”

With the announcement, Nielsen Co. joins a growing list of large companies, including Reed Elsevier and McGraw-Hill Cos., that are divesting advertising-supported properties.

Industry observers expect Nielsen will hold on to most of its trade shows but sell the remainder of its other business media properties. “They will try to sell off the rest piecemeal, I imagine,” said Reed Phillips, managing partner at DeSilva & Phillips.

“I would say in the next six months that Nielsen will have sold the rest of the portfolio,” said a former business media senior executive, who asked not to be identified.

The other side of this trend is that smaller, more nimble companies are investing in business media and making bets on the sector's digital viability for the future. Pluribus and Guggenheim “are buying at the bottom,” Phillips said. “It's an opportunistic buy for Jimmy Finkelstein's group, and I think that it could turn out to be a really good buy.”

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