Nautic invests in trade publications

The Providence, Rhode Island-based firm sees growth potential in the online segments of 101communications and Stevens Publishing.

1105 Media Holdings, a new platform company created by Nautic Partners, has made its first two acquisitions in two trade publication companies, 101communications and Stevens Publishing. Terms of the two acquisitions, which Nautic made in partnership with Alta Communications, were not disclosed.

The investment marks the first in the business-to-business information industry for Nautic, which has been looking at strategic opportunities in this sector for three years. The companies produce trade magazines, websites, conferences and seminars for specific niche industries.

“Our view is that there’s a consistent and growing demand for timely information from the individual markets where these publications are focused,” said Nautic managing director Michael Joe. “We think growth will come from various channels, but particularly from the electronic media parts of the business.”

Headquartered in Chatsworth, California, 101communications produces trade publications, e-newsletters, web sites and conferences for various niche industries. Their publications include Federal Computer Week for government IT decision-makers and Recharger, which serves the office products recycling industry.

Dallas, Texas-based Stevens Publishing produces magazines and web sites for the occupational health, safety and compliance, environmental protection and security markets. Their publications include Occupational Health and Safety, Environmental Protection and Security Products.

The two companies will become part of 1105 Media Holdings, which will be led by former Reed Elsevier and Petersen Publishing executive Neal Vitale. Joe said there will be some management changes but the editors and staff for the individual publications will remain the same. He said 1105 will seek to integrate the infrastructure, production, marketing and circulation of the two companies while keeping the editorial content of the various publications separate.

“Although the content and the end market for these publications are different, the business models are quite similar,” he said.

The investment was made through Nautic Partners V, a $1.1 billion fund that targets investments of between $25 million and $75 million in middle-market companies.

The acquisitions are the third platform investment for Nautic Partners in 2006. In February, Nautic announced the acquisition of Oasis Outsourcing. In April, Nautic acquired Curtis Industries Holdings, a manufacturer of cabs and enclosures for utility vehicles, tractors and golf carts.

Nautic Partners was spun out of Fleet Financial in 1999 and currently manages more than $1.8 billion of capital.