1105 Media moves quickly

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Neal Vitale, president-CEO of 1105 Media, the new b-to-b media company bankrolled by private equity money, is just getting started. Not as an operator in the publishing industry, in which he has ample experience-he is the former president-CEO of Variety and was a top manager at Petersen Publishing-but as the head of what he says will be a burgeoning b-to-b media portfolio.

Backed by private equity firms Nautic Partners and Alta Communications, 1105 jumped out of the gate with two quick acquisitions last month.

In the first deal announced, it bought tech publisher 101communications from Frontenac Capital. Financial terms were not disclosed, but sources familiar with the deal said the sale price was $75 million. Jeff Klein, 101communications president-CEO, joined 1105 as nonexecutive chairman.

101communications focuses on eight areas of IT: business intelligence, education, government, network and enterprise, office recycling, software solutions, certification and compliance. Its core titles include Application Development Trends, Campus Technology and Federal Computer Week. Last year, the company's revenue grew 10%, while EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) increased more than 40%.

Around the same time it was closing the deal on 101communications, 1105 acquired 80-year-old Stevens Publishing, a family-run company whose magazines include Environmental Protection, Occupational Health & Safety, Security Products and Water & Wastewater Products. The sale price was not disclosed.

Vitale said the two deals are just the opening salvoes for 1105 Media. "We've got money earmarked to support the business," said Vitale, who was most recently president-CEO of marketing services company Aspen Marketing Group. "If we sell each transaction on its merits and have done our homework, I don't expect any problem closing new deals."

Reed Phillips, a partner in media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips, said, "[Vitale] is going to do exactly what Cam [Bishop, president-CEO of Ascend Media] and Charlie [McCurdy, chairman-CEO of Apprise Media and subsidiary Canon Communications] are doing: looking for big opportunities or small- or medium-size add-ons."

Vitale said he hopes to see some online "ruboff" from 101communications-which derives 20% of its annual revenue from its online operations-onto Stevens' products. "One vision is to have Stevens derive 20% of its revenue online," he said.

There are some natural crossovers between the portfolios of 101communications and Stevens. For example, 101communications' IT Compliance Institute, which provides news and education on business governance and regulatory compliance, could cross-market with Stevens' Occupational Health & Safety. In addition, Federal Computer Week's "FCW Security" newsletter could be wedded closely with Stevens' Security Products. M

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