January 12, 2017 Last Updated 8:51 am

German media company Hubert Burda Media buys PE owned Immediate Media Company

Morning Brief: Senate takes first moves to repeal Obamacare in late night voting session, House to take up same agenda on Friday, no replacement seen on the horizon

The Munich-based technology and media company Hubert Burda Media has acquired the UK magazine publisher Immediate Media, which publishes some 70 or more titles. No price for the acquisition was mentioned in the announcement.

Immediate Media is not one of those long standing publishers, but was formed only in 2011 with the backing of a PE company, Exponent Private Equity. Its major acquisitions included BBC Magazines, Magicalia Limited and Origin Publishing. Later the company bought Future plc’s sport and craft titles in 2014. Its popular titles include Radio Times, Cycling News, BBC Top Gear, Lonely Planet Traveller and BBC History.

But being pieced together by a PE means the clock was always ticking, and 5 years is usually the lifespan of an investment, so the timing here is about right. This is, in other words, a typical transaction one might have seen a decade or so ago, but is becoming rarer as PEs are moving out of media since it has been a risky category to invest in.

“Immediate Media is a great platform for print as well as digital consumer businesses in the UK,” Paul-Bernhard Kallen, CEO of Hubert Burda Media said in the announcement. “The successful management team brings strength and depth across publishing, technology and e-commerce and has built a growing, profitable company with a large and loyal customer base. We believe Burda and Immediate Media match perfectly – with regards to the business segments as well as to the entrepreneurial mindset of both companies.”

Burda already has a UK presence, publishing several consumer magazines including YourHome and Wedding.

Did you miss it? In a late night session, the Senate held a series of budget resolutions designed to pave the way for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

What is so interesting about the news reports is that few of them actually say what really was voted on, and instead concentrated on the politics of it all. The vote on ACA was 51 to 48, with the Democrats then forcing a series of symbolic votes on elements of the health care legislation, designed to show that the Republicans would not be supporting such parts as covering pre-existing conditions. All the resolutions were voted down on a straight party line vote.

“For all those with pre-existing conditions, I stand on prosthetic legs to vote no!” freshman Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois said. Duckworth defeated incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk in November, giving Democrats one more seat in the chamber.

The House is expected to pass a similar resolution on Friday, paving the way for the repeal of Affordable Care Act, still with no replacement presented.

NPR, Ailsa Chang,

Senate Takes First Step Toward Repeal Of Obamacare

The Senate tradition is called “vote-a-rama” — hours and hours of voting on amendment after amendment to a non-binding budget resolution.

At about 1:30 a.m. Republicans achieved what they had set out to do. By a final vote of 51-48, the Senate approved a measure which calls for eliminating key elements of the Affordable Care Act in a manner not subject to a Democratic filibuster.

Best guess is the Senate is still several weeks away from repealing Obamacare — and Democrats went into Wednesday night with a messaging plan. Use vote-a-rama to get Republicans on the record about what may come next.

The Washington Post, Kelsey Snell and Mike DeBonis:

Obamacare is one step closer to repeal after Senate advances budget resolution

Senate Democrats made a late-night show of resistance against gutting the Affordable Care Act by forcing Republicans to take politically charged votes against protecting Medicare, Medicaid and other health-care programs. The measure narrowly passed without the support of any Democrats.

The hours-long act of protest culminated in the early hours of Thursday when Democrats made a dramatic display of rising to speak out against the repeal measure as they cast their votes. The Democrats continued to record their opposition over their objections of Senate Republicans.

“Because there is no replace, I vote no,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) as she delivered her vote.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also voted no, in part over concerns that GOP leaders have not committed to a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act after it is repealed.

What some truly weird reading? I recommend this story from Maureen Dowd on her interview with Peter Thiel. You are talking about two odd ducks, that’s for sure.

What exactly Dowd does for the NYT these days is not clear to me. Her columns are infrequent, and never very substantial. Maybe her tone just doesn’t sound right in this political environment, rather something from a few decades ago, in simpler times.

In any case, if you want to read more about Peter Thiel I recommend starting with TNM’s own three-part look at the book published by R. Byrne Reilly called Peter Thiel: Players, Companies, Life (start here). The book takes the opposite approach from Dowd: there is no interview, just a collection of quotes on various subjects, but it is enough to send shivers down your spine.

The New York Times, Maureen Dowd:

Peter Thiel, Trump’s Tech Pal, Explains Himself

“The election had an apocalyptic feel to it,” says Mr. Thiel, wearing a gray Zegna suit and sipping white wine in a red leather booth at the Monkey Bar in Manhattan. “There was a way in which Trump was funny, so you could be apocalyptic and funny at the same time. It’s a strange combination, but it’s somehow very powerful psychologically.”

At the recent meeting of tech executives at Trump Tower — orchestrated by Mr. Thiel — the president-elect caressed Mr. Thiel’s hand so affectionately that body language experts went into a frenzy. I note that he looked uneasy being petted in front of his peers.

“I was thinking, ‘I hope this doesn’t look too weird on TV,’” he says.

At yesterday’s press conference, Donald Trump refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, saying “Your organization is terrible. I am not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”

Later, Acosta revealed that he was warned by incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer that he would be removed should he try again to ask a question after being rebuffed.

Some reporters supported Acosta, though as a group the press pool simply went on with their business. Some wondered what would happen if CNN’s reporter were to be actually removed forcibly during a press conference. Why they should wonder is a mystery as it has already happened at a Trump press conference.

From August 2015:

CNN, Theodore Schleifer:

Univision anchor ejected from Trump news conference

Jorge Ramos, the Univision anchor and journalist, extensively squabbled with Donald Trump twice in testy exchanges at a news conference before his rally here Tuesday, with a security officer at one point ejecting Ramos from the event.

“Go back to Univision,” Trump told Ramos early in their first back-and-forth. Ramos had attempted to engage with Trump on his positions, though he had not been called upon, standing and lobbing concerns about Trump’s plan at the candidate…

…After Trump said Wednesday that Ramos was “ranting and raving like a mad man,” Ramos insisted Wednesday morning on CNN’s “New Day” that Trump was “the one who is out of line.”

Ramos said Trump has fostered hatred and division “and we have to call him out on that (as journalists).”

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