Apax-backed Incisive buys US rival(3)

US banker Bruce Wasserstein’s investment vehicle has agreed to sell publishing business American Lawyer Media to Apax Partners-backed Incisive Media for $630 million.

Incisive Media, a UK publishing company owned by Apax Partners, has agreed to buy US rival American Lawyer Media for $630 million (€460 million) from Wasserstein & Co, a US private equity firm owned by Lazard chairman Bruce Wasserstein.

The deal is Incisive’s fourth acquisition since London-based Apax Partners backed a £275 million (€407 million, $555 million) management buyout of the business in 2006. Incisive said the two companies had complementary product ranges, so the deal would provide it with a platform for US growth.

American Lawyer Media owns and publishes 33 newspapers and magazines for the US legal and business industries. It has annual sales of about $200 million, not far below Incisive’s sales of about $280 million.

Incisive reportedly trumped competing offers from Avista Capital Partners, a US private equity firm, Source Media, a trade rival backed by Bahrain-headquartered buyout firm Investcorp, and Elevation Partners, a US private equity firm that concentrates on media investments.

Wasserstein has about $2 billion under management. The New York and Los Angeles-based firm originally bought American Lawyer Media for $200 million in 1997 through its first independent fund, US Equity Partners I.

Apax is currently raising its latest buyout fund, which is expected to target just over €11 billion. It is likely to become the biggest raised by a European firm to date, narrowly ahead of Permira’s recent €11.1 billion effort.