Wasserstein More Incisive Than Incisive – Buys Back ALM Media $US213 Million Less Than They Sold It For

Here’s the story from the New York Times .. looks like the RBS structuring dept got it wrong although we wondered at the time why a UK company had gone into the US legal publishing market..It’s a tough game as they’ve just learnt.


An investor consortium led by Wasserstein & Company announced on Wednesday that it bought back ALM Media, which publishes The American Laywer and other titles, from its current owners, Apax Partners and theRoyal Bank of Scotland.

Terms aren’t expected to be disclosed, but a person briefed on the matter said the price was about $417 million. Apax’s Incisive Media bought the publisher in 2007 for $630 million.

The deal will give Wasserstein & Company, the investment vehicle of the late deal maker Bruce Wasserstein, control of a company that it created. Under the guidance of Mr. Wasserstein, who began his Wall Street career as a corporate lawyer, the financial firm cobbled together an array of legal publications and services that became a big part of the legal economy. The cornerstone of the company is The American Lawyer, which was founded by Steve Brill in 1979.

In the summer of 2007, Wasserstein & Company sold ALM Media to Incisive, a London-based trade magazine publisher, at the top of the market. The financial crisis and the ensuing economic downturn hit the newly enlarged media company hard, and a reorganization split ALM from Incisive.

Apax retained a 51 percent stake in the American legal publisher, while creditors led by the Royal Bank of Scotland took the rest of the company, as well as all of Incisive. Earlier this year year, Apax and R.B.S. retained advisers to begin shopping around ALM Media, even as the company cut costs through layoffs and other measures.

Now, Wasserstein & Company — together with the Ontario Pension Board, Pantheon, Honeywell‘s pension fund and HighVista Strategies — is buying the company back at a nearly 34 percent discount to the 2007 deal price.

“ALM’s publications and digital products are the best in the industry,” Anup Bagaria, a co-managing partner of Wasserstein & Company, said in a statement. “They are the market leaders, and invaluable to U.S. legal professionals.”

He added, “We are excited about the opportunity to work with ALM again to grow its remarkable print and digital products and trade shows.”

As of now, ALM runs about 350 print and digital titles, including The American Lawyer, The New York Law Journal and Law.com, and remains based in New York.

The deal is expected to close by the end of September.

The Wasserstein consortium will receive financing from Macquarie Capital, and was counseled by the law firm Jones Day.

Jefferies provided financial advice to Apax and R.B.S. The law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett counseled ALM and Apax, while DLA Piper advised R.B.S.