Blackstone builds B2B media platform

The New York private equity firm has established a new platform with publishing veteran Robert Krakoff to invest in business-to-business communications and media companies.

New York-based private equity firm The Blackstone Group announced today that it has entered into a formal agreement with industry veteran Robert Krakoff to pursue investment opportunities in the business-to-business communications and media industry.

Equity capital for future investments will come from Blackstone Capital Partners IV, a $6.5 billion (€5.1 billion) private equity fund, and Blackstone Communications Partners I, a $2.0 billion media and communications fund.

Krakoff, who spent 23 years at international publisher and information provider Reed Elsevier, where he rose to the position of vice chairman, is no stranger to working with private equity firms. In 1996, he was recruited by San Francisco buyout shop Hellman & Friedman to become the chairman and chief executive officer of trade publication giant Advanstar, a business he continued to run after it was sold to DLJ Merchant Banking for $900 million in 2000.

After retiring from Advanstar in July 2004, Krakoff formed Blantyre Partners, a media-focused strategic management and investment company. In November 2004, he teamed up with Citigroup Venture Capital in a failed bid to acquire Thomson Media, the publisher of American Banker and Investment Dealers Digest, which was eventually sold to Investcorp for $350 million.

Krakoff is also a board member of Freedom Communications and was head of the special committee evaluating takeover bids for the family-run newspaper and television company in 2003. Last year, The Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners acquired a minority stake in the company in a transaction valued at approximately $2 billion. Krakoff continues to serve on the board of directors along with Mark Gallogly, senior managing director at Blackstone and head of the firm’s private equity group.