Wolseley sells media firm to Germany's Forum

The Sydney-based private equity firm has exited nextmedia, Australia's largest specialist publisher, to Germany-based Forum Media Group.

Wolseley Private Equity has exited Australian magazine publisher nextmedia in a trade sale to Germany-based Forum Media Group, according to a company statement.

“This business has grown revenue and profitability each year for the last three years, which puts it into a different league than a lot of its peers,” James Todd, Wolseley’s managing director, told Private Equity International

Todd said his firm was “very pleased” with the exit multiple, though he declined to provide any financial details about the transaction.

In June 2008, a few months before the Lehman collapse, Wolseley backed the amalgamation of three specialist media groups to form nextmedia. 

After navigating through a difficult period, the company expanded its portfolio to 40 specialist magazine titles and a range of books, posters, DVD’s, events and websites, enewsletters and digital communications. Some of its titles include Inside Sport, Golf Australia, Bluewater Boats & Sports Fishing, PC PowerPlay and a range of kids’ titles.

“More than two-thirds of revenue comes from circulation and subscription sales, which is a bit different to other publishers of more general magazines,” Todd said.

“The advertising market has been difficult globally, but nextmedia’s circulation and subscriptions have grown through the period of ownership.”

The acquiring company, Forum, is headquartered in Bavaria, Germany and it publishes print and digital offerings in the specialist B2B and consumer sectors.

Earlier this month, Wolseley sold Guardian Childcare Alliance to Navis Capital Partners, PEI reported earlier. A source close to the matter said the $120 million sale generated a 2.3x exit multiple and 41 percent IRR for Wolseley

Sydney-based Wolseley Private Equity invests in Australian and New Zealand companies with enterprise values between A$20 million and A$150 million.

The firm said it expects to launch its third private equity fund before the end of the year, targeting A$300 million (€210 million; $280 million), PEI reported earlier.