Veronis Suhler Stevenson agrees to buy Advanstar for $1.1 billion

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New York—In another example of the growing appetite of investors for b-to-b media properties, Veronis Suhler Stevenson said Thursday it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Advanstar Communications for $1.10 billion from private equity fund DLJ Merchant Banking Partners III. The affiliate of Credit Suisse acquired Advanstar for $900 million in 2000.

The acquisition is expected to close in late May or early June. VSS is joined in the deal by co-sponsors Citigroup Private Equity and New York Life Partners.

“The acquisition gives us access to additional capital to go out on the acquisition front,” said Joseph Loggia, CEO of Advanstar. He said he will be staying on after the deal is completed.

Advanstar will be looking for media properties in its three core markets—fashion, life sciences and power sports—as well as other markets that are “growing and the dynamics are conducive to change,” Loggia said.

Advanstar’s portfolio includes 60 publications and directories, 47 international and regional trade shows, and 95 Web publications and Web sites. It is best known as the producer of MAGIC Marketplace, a trade show for the global apparel market, and Dealer Expo, the largest U.S. trade show in the power sports aftermarket. Its trade titles include Dental Products Report, Drug Topics DVM Newsmagazine, Medical Economics and Motor Age.

DLJ Merchant Banking Partners III sold Advanstar’s technology and travel units for $185 million to Questex Media Group in 2005.

“The deal reflects that b-to-b media is a healthy industry and is not going away,” Loggia said. “There are some very good businesses within the market, and it’s a very effective way for industries to communicate and market.”

—Matthew Schwartz

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