VSS sells Hanley Wood to investment group led by JPMorgan Partners

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New York—Veronis Suhler Stevenson announced Thursday that it has agreed to sell Hanley Wood for $650 million to an investment group led by JPMorgan Partners, a private equity affiliate of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Hanley Wood is a construction industry media company whose properties include Builder, the World of Concrete Trade Show and ebuild.

The closely watched deal indicates that the mergers and acquisitions market in b-to-b media remains strong. The sale prices puts the trailing EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) multiple at more than 13.

VSS said the size of the deal would make it the largest in b-to-b media since Advanstar was sold for $900 million in 2000.

In addition to JPMorgan Partners, the investment group includes Wasserstein & Co. as well as current and former management of Hanley Wood.

Company founder Michael Wood will step down as CEO but will remain a board member. Current President Frank Anton will become CEO, and all five division heads will continue in their roles.

"This is one of the great b-to-b media franchises in the U.S.," Mike Hannon, a partner at JPMorgan Partners, said in a statement. "We are excited to work with the management team to accomplish the next phase of the company’s growth."

—Sean Callahan

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