Former Primedia head teams with Spectrum

Charles McCurdy, the co-founder and former president of the targeted media giant, and Spectrum Equity Investors have announced a joint initiative of up to $200m to invest in niche media businesses.

Leveraging his industry specific experience as co-founder and former head of targeted media company Primedia, Charles McCurdy is teaming with Spectrum Equity Investors to create an ‘investment initiative’ that will commit between $175 million and $200 million (€146 million and €166 million) in niche media and publishing companies.

Through a management and investment firm called Apprise Media formed this past winter, as chairman and chief executive officer McCurdy will invest in and manage businesses similarly to those he worked with back at Primedia, which included enthusiast and business-to-business magazines, consumer guides, specialty videos, supplemental educational publishing, and their related activities.

While with Primedia, which is currently held by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, McCurdy grew the company from launch to an enterprise with $1.5 billion in annual revenues, according to a press statement. McCurdy served as interim CEO at Primedia until this past October when Primedia’s board decided to hire a candidate from outside the firm.

McCurdy said he met with many potential investment partners over the course of the following months until he decided on Spectrum, particularly because the firm’s emphasis on media companies matched Apprise’s focus.

McCurdy said that despite the soft market in the niche media and publication space over the past more than three years, his firm will continue the strategy engaged at Primedia, which consisted of buying platform company’s and developing them through subsequent acquisitions. He said a typical platform company might cost about $50 million and would look to make add-ons in the range of $2 million to $20 million.
Spectrum, through offices in Menlo Park, California and Boston, currently manages more than $3 billion in capital. The firm has a strong emphasis on media, communications and information services companies.

Earlier this month, Spectrum and Apax Partners each contributed an equal amount to buy NEP Broadcasting from Wachovia Capital Partners in a transaction valued at $320 million (€265 million).Through its three specialisations, NEP provides various outsourced services to the sports and entertainment industries, including the Super Bowl, the Olympic Games and the Academy Awards.