PE firm Wasserstein buys back ALM from PE firm Apax Partners

The private equity firm Wasserstein & Co., which once owned ALM Media, has bought it back from another PE firm Apax Partners and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Also investing in the latest round of media group musical chairs is Ontario Pension Board, Pantheon, the Honeywell pension, and HighVista Strategies LLC, according to the announcement.

The New York Times priced the deal at $417, far below the price paid by Wasserstein received when it first sold the properties in 2007 for $630 million to Incisive Media, a company backed by Apax Partners.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to own ALM again and look forward to working with ALM’s experienced management team to strengthen and unify its media brands and expand into value-added digital subscription products and services,” Michael Struble, Managing Director of Wasserstein & Co said in the company’s announcement.

ALM was originally formed U.S. Equity Partners, a private equity fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co in 1997 and so owned the properties for 10 years, a long time in PE terms where investors typically get out of their investments in around five years or less. Wasserstein was able to sell the properties in 2007 just before the bottom fell out of the market.

The group is made up of 33 magazine and newspapers (as well as web properties) which serve the legal and commercial real estate sectors. It’s flagship is The American Lawyer, which was launched by Steven Brill in 1979.

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