North Coast Media launched in early May after Kevin Stoltman, VP of Questex Media Group's industrial and specialty group, acquired the unit for an undisclosed price.
Stoltman is president of the new company, based in Cleveland. Its brands include Golfdom, GPS World, Landscape Management, LP Gas, Pest Management Professional and Pit & Quarry.
Several of these titles were “cash cows” for Questex, Stoltman said. “They're profitable right now,” Stoltman said. “[So] what can I do if I take more of that profit and reinvest it back into the brands?”
Stoltman said there would be no layoffs as a result of the transaction.
North Coast now has more than 30 employees, and Stoltman plans to expand the staff by 25% in the first six months of operation. He said he's media-agnostic when it comes to growing the portfolio and that he will invest in the company's digital, mobile and print platforms.
“These markets are going to dictate what they're going to dictate, and our readers still like print,” he said.
Stoltman said he is looking at “tangential” media properties that can dovetail with some of the broader markets served by North Coast, such as energy, mining and recycling.
“We have six primary titles that aren't really connected in one way or the other. They're very different. So we're not putting all of our eggs into one basket,” he said. “We're looking at growth both organically and through acquisition.”
Kerry Gumas, president-CEO of Questex, said the proceeds from the sale will go toward expanding the company's operations in its core markets: hospitality; travel; beauty and leisure; and high-tech, telecom and life sciences.
“We thought the management buyout and the establishment as a standalone media company was the best solution,” Gumas said. “We were concerned about the people [in the group] because many of these people have been with Questex since day one, and we very much thought that was part of the intrinsic value of those properties.”
Gumas said he is not actively pursuing any other divestitures but was about to close an acquisition. (He did not elaborate.)
Mike Parker, managing director of AdMedia Partners, said Questex's sale of the assets that now comprise North Coast Media reflects the ongoing trend among b-to-b media companies to focus on their core strengths and unload properties considered peripheral.
“This follows the trends of where media companies must go, in some instances, in order to increase their profitability,” Parker said. “When Kerry says he's paring back to the core, that's probably what a lot of media companies are either doing now or thinking of doing, because it's going to increase their bottom line.”