Smaller media deals on horizon

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Larry Grimes, president of media investment bank W.B. Grimes & Co., is confident that once a few more high-profile b-to-b media deals get done, such as a sale of Penton Media, some of the industry's smaller players will start to sell, too.

"I'm referring to the guy who owns two or three titles and is generating anywhere from $3 million to $10 million in revenue," said Grimes, whose firm focuses on deals for small and midsize companies, or those with revenue of $500,000 to $100 million.

Grimes said smaller b-to-b media companies conditioned to marketing print products are increasingly ready to step aside so others can take them to the next level (read: the digital age).

"There's a pervasive fear among b-to-b publishers that the print end of the business is falling by the wayside and becoming less and less important," Grimes said. "Although they're able to deliver online information, the development of ad-based products on the Web is still tough to come by for the smaller guys."

The expected availability of smaller publishers may eventually pique the interest of larger media companies.

"[Larger companies] will have to make add-on buys, firm up their markets and create some synergies," Grimes said. "It may take a few months for that to trickle down and for such deals to take hold."

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