Behind the ALM Acquisition and Whats Next for the Legal Information Company

first_imgIn June, private equity investment firm Wasserstein & Co. announced it was acquiring ALM Media from Apax Partners. It would be the second time Wasserstein has owned the company, which it had built through a series of acquisitions.Apax put ALM on the block in April and the deal closed July 31. Terms were not released at the time and ALM was strangely quiet about the transaction, with any press being handled by Wasserstein.More recently, a source with knowledge of the transaction said the sale price reported by the New
York Times—$417 million—is accurate, which puts the EBITDA multiple right around 8x based on $55 million in earnings.Those figures fell short of the reported $500 million Apax was seeking, but it’s still a big sale—albeit 34 percent less than when Apax bought it from Wasserstein in 2007. Especially for a company with legacy roots that has tried to move quickly into a more digitally-oriented business model. Plus, the deal reveals where private equity still finds value in such operations and allows ALM to begin fueling its growth with more capital. FOLIO: How are subscriptions breaking down between print and digital products?Carter: The large firms are all taking pure digital. To counter that we also revamped how we sold to individuals—the smaller firms and attorneys. We have a metered paywall that allows you to read five articles before you hit it, then you get an offer based on what you’ve been reading. We’ve had a significant increase in individual sales and 40 percent of those customers are taking a print/digital bundle from us. So we’re still selling a good bit of print.FOLIO: How have you invested in your technology to support these initiatives?Carter: We use as much off-the-shelf as we can. We’re willing to pay a little more for a premium product. That’s allowed us to easily expand. And going forward it’s becoming easier to pull it out and replace it if it loses its best-in-class. We’re much more in the buy camp, but that doesn’t apply to everything. We do some of our own custom development. During the economic downturn in 2009, ALM became an independent company following a split from Incisive Media. Apax dropped its stake in ALM from 71 percent to 51 percent and the Royal Bank of Scotland took over the remaining 49 percent in a debt-for-equity swap.FOLIO: sat down with ALM CEO Bill Carter, who joined the company in 2012, for an exclusive interview about the sale and what’s in store for the company going forward.FOLIO: How did the deal come together? Why did Wasserstein decide to double-dip?Bill Carter: [Apax] acquired us in 2007 and the deal was reaching the end of its lifecycle. Because of the 2009 restructuring, there were restrictions put on what the company could do and it limited our growth opportunities. It prompted the board to have a discussion on what was right for the company and they began looking for interested parties.Wasserstein emerged because they had the deepest understanding of our revenue streams and they appreciated our challenges.FOLIO: What goes into valuing a B2B media company these days and how is that different from just five or six years ago?Carter: I think the markets are pretty good right now in terms of raising debt, especially if you have a business that’s performing well.
Buyers want to look at the stability of your revenue streams and there’s certainly a bias toward subscription revenues and events.There is still a factor that goes into any B2B company that’s being looked at right now and that is how well they held up during the 2008 cycle. Everyone acknowledges a revenue swing. But how big was that swing?We swung a lot less and stayed relatively profitable. We have cyclical and counter-cyclical revenue, which stabilizes things. Scale plays a factor, too.FOLIO: A couple years ago you told FOLIO: you were working on improving ALM through customer growth and renewals, expanding the sales organization and adding more product technology like RivalEdge. How have you evolved that thinking since then?Carter: The biggest initiative that guided us over the last three years has been corporate subscriptions. Historically, ALM had sold to individuals, not to law firms. In 2012, we did an analysis at the top firms and what they were spending with us. We had breadth, but not depth. One lawyer would route his subscription to 20 other lawyers, but it was an individual sale.We set as our goal the top 850 law firms—they should each have one license to all ALM’s products. And we could tailor that content to how they wanted it.To do that we had to re-engineer marketing and sales—bring in sales experts who knew how sell licenses.We also had to completely rebuild the infrastructure. We grew up as a roll-up of acquisitions. Everyone had their own groups. We standardized the websites and print products, but more importantly we standardized the taxonomy. So now we can serve up the content that’s relevant to that user.This was the area that got Wasserstein excited. It cracked a problem they saw in 2005, 2006—how do you get that younger reader?FOLIO: We’re talking digital now, aren’t we?Carter: Yes. When we looked at the lawyers who had the subscriptions and also looked at the online usage we had many more people getting our daily alerts. But they were hitting the paywall. The associates don’t have the ability to make that purchase. So we went to the corporate librarians—younger attorneys are getting the alerts but now they’re reading the content.And that’s why Wasserstein won [the deal]. Wasserstein got that immediately, the other bidders didn’t understand it as much.FOLIO: How have the site license sales been performing?Carter: We’ve had double-digit growth on corporate site licenses. Our circulation counts are way up and our circulation revenue is way up overall. Circulation is all of our subscription brand products, separate from our information solutions, which are also subscription-based.last_img read more

Defense Bill Talks Drag On

first_imgThe House and Senate Armed Services committees are still engaged in negotiations to hash out a compromise version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill as an agreement on a handful of issues has proven unattainable to date.“No question we’re close,” House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told CQ. Thornberry said he has remained in contact with his Senate counterpart, John McCain (R-Ariz.). “I mean, we could be done anytime, but we’re not,” he said.Military compensation, including increases in Tricare co-pays and retirement benefits, has been one of the thorniest issues so far.“We’re still having discussions,” said McCain. “Honestly, I’m not sure whether we’re going to be able to get it or not,” he said.Meanwhile, conferees settled on language to overhaul the military procurement process, Thornberry said. One of the key questions the two sides tackled was whether to give the military service secretaries the power the defense secretary now has over initiating multibillion-dollar weapons programs.The House chairman said the two different versions of the annual defense policy bill “have blended together well,” without elaborating further. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

What To Expect At The Wilmington Farmers Market On July 21

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Farmers Market will be open this Sunday, July 21, 2019 from 10am to 1pm, on the Swain Green, across from the Town Common, at 140 Middlesex Avenue.July 21 Farmers Market Lineup:Vendors:Arrowhead FarmGaouette FarmHawaiian Jim’s Shaved IceKC Styles Ma & Pa PicklesPolish Prince PierogiPurple Carrot BreadSeafood ExpressTewksbury HoneyAdditional Attractions:Concert from the Merrimack Valley ChorusIpswich River Watershed Association is at the Community TableMake a Star Wars Empire Finger Puppet at the Kids TableLike Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWhat To Expect At The Wilmington Farmers Market On July 14In “Community”What To Expect At The Wilmington Farmers Market On July 28In “Community”What To Expect At The Wilmington Farmers Market On August 11In “Community”last_img read more

YouTube TV is giving longtime subscribers Showtime at no extra cost

first_img Now playing: Watch this: 1 Preview • YouTube TV has promise, but needs to grow before it’s worth $35 (hands-on) Review • YouTube TV review: The best premium live TV streaming service 1:26 YouTube TV’s price hike, Disney Plus details YouTube TV has a reward for some of its “longtime friends.” David Katzmaier / CNET YouTube TV appears to be offering some subscribers a summer of free Showtime. The live TV streaming service is giving “longtime friends” a subscription to Showtime at no cost through Sept. 5, 2019, according to offer messages shared by customers on social media.”Wowza!! I just got a free summer of @Showtime from @YouTubeTV no strings — just for being a loyal subscriber,” tweeted Rich Greenfield on Thursday, along with images of the offer.  YouTube TV apparently won’t automatically bill customers for the Showtime subscription once the deal has ended. “You can add it back if you love it, but that’s totally up to you,” reads the offer message. (Editors’ note: Showtime is a part of CBS, which also owns CNET.)Earlier this year, YouTube TV raised its monthly price from $40 to $50. The Google-owned service is one of a handful of subscription options aimed at cable TV cord-cutters who want to stream live TV channels such as ESPN, TNT and CNN, as well as local channels including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Its competition includes Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, each with different channel packages and pricing.YouTube didn’t immediately respond to a request for more details. Commentcenter_img News • YouTube TV is now available across the US Share your voice Wowza!! I just got a free summer of @Showtime from @YouTubeTV no strings — just for being a loyal subscriber (spectrum has never done that) pic.twitter.com/o2xU5ySmjK— Rich Greenfield (@RichBTIG) June 14, 2019 YouTube TV Tags TVs Digital Media Showtime YouTubelast_img read more

Corruption in railway recruitment again

first_imgA quarter close to the railway minister is making millions over the recruitment of 865 cleaners to the Bangladesh Railway (BR), alleged Railway Sramik Karmachari Sangram Parishad, a platform of BR staffs backed by the ruling Awami League. The general manager (GM) of the BR’s East Zone on 27 December told a recent operational review meeting that he had been facing pressure from the AL leaders, including ministers and parliamentarians, to recruit people loyal to them. The railway minister, however, was not present at the meeting attended by all the top officers of the organisation, with director general Md Amzad Hossain in the chair. The cleaners, known as khalasis, are government employees of the 20th grade, the last tier. Their basic pay is Tk 8,250. The recruitment test’s viva voce was held in 2015, but the procedure was stalled due to an ongoing case. railwayGM Abdul Hye in that meeting told the DG that he could not even appoint a family member of a recently deceased railway staff because of the minister’s non-cooperation, according to four officers present at the meeting who all sought anonymity. The DG, however, did not make any comment on the issue. Md Mizanur Rahman, chief mechanical engineer of the railway’s west zone, is the convener of the recruitment committee. He, too, did not want to give further details about the problem. Speaking to Prothom Alo at his office on 3 January, Abdul Hye said he was against appointing anyone by taking bribes, adding that the applicants mostly come from lower class families.Referring to the arrest of former railway GM Yusuf Ali Mridha and Omar Faruq, personal secretary to the former rail minister Suranjit Sen Gupta, with Tk 7 million allegedly made from rail recruitment business on 9 April in 2012, Abdul Hye said it was time the railway rectified its reputation. Speaking to Prothom Alo on 31 Decmeber, rail minister M Mujibul Haque said, “I don’t know what the GM said on 27 December. A number of journalists, ministers, MPs, political leader and leaders of different cultural organisations made recommendations for the appointments. You can also recommend. The appointments, however, will be done following the policy.”The Railway Shramik Karmachari Sangram Parishad held a press conference at the Chittagong Press Club on 31 December protesting the irregularities regarding the appointment of the cleaners. Its convener Mokhlesur Rahman alleged that a syndicate close to the rail minister was finalising the appointment list in exchange of bribes.Replying to the accusations, the rail minister said the people questioning the recruitment process were ‘Jamaat and BNP supporters’. He also said he wanted to end the recruitment process as soon as possible.The railway authorities, meanwhile, cancelled the allotment of residence to Mokhlesur Rahman’s son, a junior auditor, on 1 January, the day after the press conference.Mokhlesur claimed the cancelation was an act of vengeance.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Quamrul Hasan.last_img read more

Nepal minister among 7 dead in chopper crash

first_imgNepal’s tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari was among seven people killed Wednesday when a helicopter crashed in the country’s hilly east, officials said.Rescue workers retrieved the bodies of Adhikari, 49, the pilot and five other passengers from a hillside in Taplejung district where the Air Dynasty chopper went down.”The respected minister’s body has been identified,” Ram Krishna Subedi, the spokesman for the ministry of home affairs, said in a press conference.Subedi said two army helicopters had been dispatched to bring the bodies back to the capital Kathmandu.It is unclear why the helicopter crashed.A search and rescue team was deployed to the area after locals alerted authorities to flames and smoke rising from a hillside.”The helicopter is in pieces, and scattered all over,” said Suraj Bhattarai, a witness who saw the debris.The bodies of the others killed in the crash have not yet been identified.The minister was on a trip to scope out a possible location for a new airport in the region.It is just the latest aviation accident to plague Nepal, an impoverished Himalayan nation with a poor air safety record.Nepal has some of the world’s most remote and tricky runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge for even accomplished pilots.The country has a booming private helicopter industry, flying tourists and goods to remote corners of the Himalayan nation where road access is limited or non-existent.In September last year, six people including a Japanese tourist was killed when a helicopter crashed.A US-Bangla Airways plane crashed near the capital’s airport in March, killing 51 people.Nepal-based airlines are banned from flying in European Union airspace.Its poor air safety record is largely blamed on inadequate maintenance and sub-standard management.last_img read more