Cygnus responds to potential buyer interest

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Carr Davis, co-CEO of Cygnus Business Media, says the company has begun “an exploratory process” regarding a possible sale.

“I’m not saying we’re on the market,” Davis said. “I can only say parties expressed interest in talking to us about our company. So we thought it might be a good time to begin an exploratory process, and we’ve begun engaging with people in an exploratory way,” he said, adding that Cygnus is not actively seeking potential suitors at this time.

Davis declined to name the parties that expressed interest.

“This indication of interest we’ve gotten suggests that Cygnus continues to be a company with a strong future,” Davis said. “In 2007, we grew the overall revenue over 2006 by 5%.” EBITDA also increased during that period, he added, declining to reveal figures.

As it is for the b-to-b media sector in general, a key revenue driver for Cygnus is e-media. “We grew e-media 65%, from about 5% of our total revenue in 2006 to slightly over 8% in 2007.” By the end of 2008, Davis expects e-media to grow to 10% of Cygnus’ total revenue.

He added that e-media growth did not come from a shift of advertiser spending from print to online. “We grew the number of customers using our e-media service by 1,000, most of which are endemic, bread-and-butter customers.”

Also included in the new client count, Davis said, are 10 or more major nonendemic advertisers Cygnus began targeting last year through a new program aimed at companies looking to reach small and midsize businesses. SMB owners comprise 86% of the Cygnus audience.

In addition to building up its offerings in SMB and e-media, Cygnus is emphasizing custom media this year. “My whole custom marketing department is being redone with a focus on helping customers tell their story to the Hispanic market, one of the fastest-growing demographic segments and one we are consistently asked about by our advertisers,” he said.

To lead that effort, Cygnus last month hired Marco Rodriguez as senior VP-custom marketing. Rodriguez co-founded Nuestra Casa International, publisher of a national Spanish-language real estate magazine and seven regional titles.

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