Schofield's Ideal Media buys food, retail properties from VNU

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Ideal Media, a division of Chicago-based Schofield Media, has acquired Restaurant Business, FoodService Director, Beverage World and Retail Merchandiser from VNU Business Media for an undisclosed price. The deal also included the magazines' Web sites and conferences, as well as ID Access Web, an online food distribution database.

"We have been actively looking to make acquisitions in the U.S. b-to-b marketplace for the past 12 months," said Andrew Schofield, founder and CEO of Schofield Media as well as its parent company, U.K.-based Schofield Publishing.

"These titles have been bought through our newly formed subsidiary-Ideal Media-because we see them as quite different and independent products from those we already publish. But at the same time they complement our existing portfolio very well and represent market areas that I wanted us to further develop."

The acquisition brings Schofield's magazine portfolio to 20 publications in the U.S., U.K. and Europe. Existing U.S. titles include U.S. Business Review, Food and Drink, Manufacturing Today and Construction Today. In February, Schofield purchased Beverly, Mass.-based Redcoat Publishing and its American Executive and Health Executive magazines.

VNU Business Media sold the food and retail publications because it no longer saw them as strategic fits for its broad media portfolio, said Deborah Patton, VP-communications. "We remain focused on our core strengths, namely the entertainment, media and marketing industries," Patton said. "However, we believe strongly that these magazines will continue to do well under Schofield Media's purview."

One analyst, who declined to be named, said the deal seemed a good move for both companies and that the magazines would perform better under the guidance of a smaller, more entrepreneurial publisher such as Schofield Media.

Robert Crosland, managing director of media investment advisory firm AdMedia Partners, said, "It will be no mean task to stabilize Restaurant Business, which has been losing money and reputation for several years now. The relative health of the other publications may help offset that challenge, but I have to believe that the acquisition came at a discount."

Schofield said he bought the publications with the intent to revitalize them.

"They are very strong editorial products and great brands, and our view is that if we can do the right things and be supportive and responsive in their markets, we can achieve growth across all titles," he said.

"We are looking carefully at the positioning of all of the titles and plan to strengthen the sales teams' efforts considerably. We have made this investment on the basis that we are committed to their long-term future, and we are willing to put in further investment and legwork to achieve our goals."

Jordan Edmiston Group, a New York-based media investment bank, represented VNU Business Media in the transaction.

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