Prism Business Media agrees to buy Penton for $530 million

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New York—In a deal that greatly expands the presence of investment banker Bruce Wasserstein in the b-to-b media arena, Penton Media announced Thursday that it has agreed to be acquired by Prism Business Media for $530 million. The deal includes the assumption or repayment of roughly $336 million in debt.

After going into play this past summer, Penton sparked the interest of several bidders. However, in the last few weeks rumors floated that the bidding had come down to Apprise Media and Prism, which is owned by U.S. Equity Partners II, an investment fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co.

Wasserstein also owns ALM and, along with Rustic Canyon Ventures, The Deal LLC.

Prism is expected to integrate Penton properties into its portfolio, according to a person familiar with the transaction.

There is opportunity for synergies between the two companies. Prism has 70 b-to-b titles, including Electrical Marketing, National Real Estate Investor and Registered Rep. Penton has 50 b-to-b titles, including Electronic Design, Expansion Management and Industry Week.

Penton CEO David Nussbaum “is a strong operator, so I would expect [the new owners] to find a role for him,” the source said.

Media investment bank DeSilva & Philips represented Prism in the transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of 2007.

Also Thursday, Prism said it had acquired the assets of Supermarket News from Fairchild Publications. Financial terms were not disclosed. The magazine, founded in 1952, produces the Supermarket News Whole Health supplement, which covers the organic, whole health and wellness markets.

—Matthew Schwartz

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