Ontario Teachers’ loses executive to media-focused firm

Beringer Capital has hired Josef Prosperi from Teachers’ Private Capital as well as Michael Sifton, a veteran media CEO.

Josef Prosperi, a director at Teachers’ Private Capital, the private equity arm of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, has joined Tononto-based investment and advisory firm Beringer Capital.

The firm, which focuses on investments in the marketing services, communications and specialty media sectors in North America, also hired Michael Sifton, who has had a 20-year career in newspaper publishing.

At Teachers’, Prosperi was responsible for sourcing, due diligence, negotiation, financing and execution of private equity transactions. Teachers’ was a founding investor of Osprey Media Group, where Prosperi had a central role and worked closely with Sifton, who was chief executive officer.

Prosperi has worked with management teams of private and public companies and has experienced with due diligence. He has served on the boards of a number of companies, including Osprey Media Income Fund, CTVglobemedia, SERTA and General Nutrition Centers.

Sifton was president and chief executive officer of family-owned Armadale Communications from 1988 to 1996. From 1996 to 2001, Sifton held various positions, including president, at Hollinger Canadian Newspapers. He was the president and chief executive officer of Osprey Media from its formation in 2001 until August 2007, when it was acquired by Sun Media.

Sifton was appointed president and chief executive of Sun Media until November 2008.

The firm has been making big inroads into marketing services and communications outside of traditional media platforms like newspapers, where advertising has been on a long decline over the last several years.

Beringer estimates that spending on advertising and marketing services in the US reached about $820 billion in 2007, with Canada estimated to be another $40 billion to $50 billion.

“Growth in the industry has been generated from sectors outside traditional advertising,” Sifton said in a statement. “Newspapers and other traditional media have experienced a general decline in advertising as marketers include other forms of communication such as retail promotions and digital marketing to effectively reach their customers.”

Beringer Capital was formed in 1990 and, along with advisory work, invests money from a select group of third-party investors for acquisitions, management buyouts, refinancings and expansions.