January 15, 2015 Last Updated 7:41 am

Incisive Media reaches debt for equity deal with private equity firm Alchemy

Alchemy takes majority stake in the B2B publishing company, and places three members on the publisher’s board

The publisher of such titles as Legal Week, Investment Week, Accountancy Age and Professional Pensions, Incisive Media, announced that it had reached a refinancing deal with private equity firm Alchemy, which will see the the firm take a majority stake in the business.

IW-cover-175The deal will trade equity for a reduction in debt, a typical way a PE-owned publisher reduces its debt but also loses control of the company. The PE firm typically eventually sells off parts or all of the company.

The publisher’s management put a happy face on the bad situation:

“The strong financial platform and supportive majority shareholder in the form of Alchemy will give us the ability to invest in the business, both in our people and our brands,” Incisive Media executive chairman and chief executive Tim Weller said. “We have made considerable progress in digital, subscriptions and events over the last few years and look forward to being able to accelerate this by investing in the business to stimulate further growth and by taking advantage of the many opportunities that lie ahead.”

Ian Cash, Toby Westcott and Paul Bridges from Alchemy will now join the board of Incisive Media, as well as David Gilbertson who had previously been the chief executive at Informa and EMAP.

Incisive Media was launched in 1994 Tim Weller with the launch of Investment Week. The company went public in 2000, but the timing was bad, and the publisher was taken private again in a management deal backed by the PE firm Apax Partners. The company then went on a buying spree picking up VNU Business Publications Ltd and ALM, the publisher of The American Lawyer. This, of course, increased the company’s debt load which made possible the take over by the backing PE firm.

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