VSS attempting to sell Hanley Wood

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New York—Industry observers confirmed Monday that media merchant bank Veronis Suhler Stevenson is attempting to sell construction media company Hanley Wood.

"It’s no great secret in the industry that Hanley Wood has been available for some time at the right price," said Robert Crosland, managing director of media investment bank AdMedia Partners. "I suppose that will continue to be the case until such a price has been achieved."

Added Kathleen Thomas, managing director of communications industry investment bank Berkery, Noyes & Co.: "They’ve [owned] it since 1999. It’s the right time horizon, and the M&A market is so strong. The multiples being paid are so strong, and the auctions are all extremely active."

The contentious auction last year for Thomson Media, which eventually went to Investcorp for $350 million, is proof of that.

VSS acquired Hanley Wood, which then generated $100 million in annual revenue, for a reported $260 million in 1999. Currently, Hanley Wood generates $200 million in annual revenue, and observers say the company could fetch $500 million in an auction.

Under VSS, Hanley Wood has made numerous acquisitions, including the Meyers Group, a construction industry research firm. Peter Goldstone, president of Hanley Wood’s magazine division, said the company expected that business, which currently generates about $20 million in annual revenue, to generate $50 million a year in five years. "It’s too much fun around here," Goldstone said. "There’s no shortage of ideas; we’re just short of manpower, the people to get it all done."

—Sean Callahan

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