Wind Point Partners, a private equity firm, has acquired Highline Media, the corporate parent of National Underwriter and the NU Online News Service, along with Pfingsten Publishing.
Highline Media and Pfingsten Publishing will operate under the corporate umbrella of a newly formed publisher, Summit Business Media.
“We are very pleased to acquire Pfingsten and Highline, which have been fast-growing business-to-business information companies,” says William F. Reilly, chairman and chief executive officer of Summit. “Both companies have outstanding management teams with excellent track records and experience. The businesses have major brands and are leading information providers in their respective markets.
“The combined enterprise has many opportunities for synergy in that Highline has a very strong position in electronic publishing, while Pfingsten has significant experience in trade shows, conferences and seminars. The fact that both are information providers to the insurance industry, for example, is a major plus.”
Although print products remain an important element of Summit’s media mix, they now account for only a little over 50% of the sales of the combined companies, Reilly says.
The 2 acquired companies “have similar operating strategies in that they are classic affinity marketing businesses,” says Reilly, who most recently was chairman and CEO of F&W Publications. From 1989 to 2001, Reilly was founder, chairman and CEO of Primedia. From 1980 to 1989, he was president of Macmillan Publishing Company.
Reilly is a University of Notre Dame trustee.
James TenBroek, managing director at Wind Point, says, “Planning for Summit includes very achievable value creation initiatives, including new product launches and acquisitions. We plan to make Summit a major force in the business-to-business information community.”
“Everyone at Highline is excited to join Bill Reilly, Pfingsten and Wind Point Partners to create a world-class information company,” says Andy Goodenough, president of Highline Media. “We have long respected Pfingsten’s leading brands in the insurance and mortgage categories. Now we can work together to pursue a coordinated strategy…to extend our joint strong positions in insurance and financial services, and in conferences and trade shows.”
Joe Bennett, president of Pfingsten, says, “We are pleased to join with Andy Goodenough of Highline to strengthen our market shares in the insurance field, further penetrate the financial services market, and increase our electronic publishing positions. We are very excited to have the benefit of Highline’s experience in electronic publishing, as we see growth opportunities in electronic media products for Pfingsten. Andy Goodenough and his team bring cutting-edge skill and experience to the electronic side.”