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NU's Parent, Highline Media, Is Acquired By Bigger Equity Firm

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Highline Media, corporate parent of National Underwriter, has been acquired–along with Pfingsten Publishing–by Wind Point Partners, a private equity firm. The 2 companies 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,” said William F. Reilly, chairman and CEO 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.”

Reilly added that “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.”

He said that while “print products remain an important element of our media mix,” they are “currently only a little over 50% of the sales of the combined companies.”

The 2 acquired companies “have similar operating strategies in that they are classic affinity marketing businesses,” said Reilly, who was most recently chairman and CEO of F&W Publications. Prior to that, he was founder, chairman and CEO of Primedia, and before that was president of Macmillan Publishing Company.

James TenBroek, managing director at Wind Point, promised “new product launches and acquisitions. We plan to make Summit a major force in the business-to-business information community.”

Andy Goodenough, president of Highline Media, said that “everyone at Highline is excited to join Bill Reilly, Pfingsten and Wind Point Partners to create a world-class information company. We have long respected Pfingsten’s leading brands in the insurance and mortgage categories.”

He added that “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, said he is “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.”

He said, “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.” He added that “Andy Goodenough and his team bring cutting-edge skill and experience to the electronic side.”

Wind Point Partners, a private equity investment firm with offices in Chicago and Southfield, Mich., has $2 billion in capital under management. “Wind Point focuses on partnering with top-caliber management teams to acquire solid middle-market businesses with a clear path to value creation,” the firm said in a press release.

Additional information about Wind Point is available at .

Highline Media was formed in October 2003 to acquire The National Underwriter Company, now a 110-year-old firm that–along with this publication–publishes a second NU newsweekly targeting the property & casualty insurance industry. It also publishes Claims, Tech Decisions, Insurance Advocate and Florida Underwriter.

Besides magazines, Highline, in its NUCO deal, picked up reference tools and services such as “TaxFacts” and the “Fire, Casualty and Surety Bulletins,” along with 150 other books and electronic products, and 3 conference events.

In May 2004, the company added insurance data assets–including regulatory, mergers and acquisitions, and publicly traded data–from The Thomson Corp.

In the fall of 2005, Highline acquired Wealth Manager magazine from Bloomberg, and then Research and Futures magazines from Adams Business Media. This year, Highline acquired the Insurance Executive Events from The Conference Group.

Highline has 220 employees and revenues of nearly $50 million. Additional information about Highline Media is available at .

Pfingsten Publishing, formed in 1998, is a business-to-business media company that serves 10 market segments through 3 business groups.

The Financial Services Group serves the life and health insurance, property-casualty insurance and mortgage origination markets with magazines Life Insurance Selling, American Agent & Broker and Mortgage Originator. In February 2005, the company added International Investment Conferences to its fold, which focuses on the global investment mining market.

Pfingsten also features an Art and Framing Group, which serves various art markets, as well as an Industrial Group targeting commercial construction, maintenance repair and operations. Additional information about Pfingsten Publishing is available at .


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