Exclusive: American Lawyer publisher up for sale - sources

NEW YORK Tue Apr 1, 2014 5:14pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - American Lawyer publisher ALM Media, which was once controlled by Wall Street dealmaker Bruce Wasserstein, is exploring a sale that could fetch more than $500 million, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

ALM Media, backed by private equity firm Apax Partners, has hired investment bank Jefferies to assist with efforts to sell the company, whose magazines are popular among U.S. lawyers and legal professionals, the sources said.

The first round of interest from potential bidders starts this week, another person familiar with the process said who added the buyer likely would be another private equity firm.

ALM, which sponsors conferences and owns legal and real estate publications and sites including the American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, New York Law Journal and Law.com, was sold to Apax in 2007 for $630 million through the private equity firm's portfolio company, UK-based Incisive Media Ltd.

Apax later split up Incisive Media, keeping control of the ALM business while turning over the rest of the company to lenders including the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS.L).

ALM Media, Apax and Jefferies declined to comment.

ALM's owners are putting the company on the block following the sales of other legal news and analysis companies. Bloomberg LP bought BNA for about $1 billion in 2011 and Reed Elsevier's (REL.L) (ELSN.AS) LexisNexis snapped up Law360 in 2012 for an undisclosed sum.

Thomson Reuters (TRI.N) (TRI.TO), which competes with Reed and Bloomberg, bought Practical Law Company that provides expert services to legal professionals.

Still, ALM is heading to the auction block at time when the legal community is cutting costs and headcount.

ALM also had to trim from its ranks and last year cut about 35 positions or about 7 percent of its workforce, according to reports at the time.

ALM Media generates about $55 million in annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization and could fetch about 10 times that amount, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the matter is private.

ALM, which in January 2005 changed its name from American Lawyer Media, was formed by U.S. Equity Partners LP, a private equity fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co.

(Additional reporting by Jennifer Saba and Liana Bakers in New York; Editing by Soyoung Kim, Lisa Von Ahn and Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (3)
This article dramatically understates the number of layoffs at ALM. The true number is at least 60, probably closer to 90. That doesn’t include voluntary departures by those who see it as a sinking ship. The company is seriously hollowed out with some divisions barely functional. Whoever buys ALM should do some serious due diligence.

Apr 03, 2014 6:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse
lawpartnerff wrote:
ALM under leadership hired by Bank of Scotland has failed. The leaders and heads of each department continued to support Litigator, a paid research tool at a time when law firms were switching to free legal research. Because of the millions sunk into this pit, layoffs of highly talented employees began and continued to last month. Layoffs totaled at least 250 in a very small company. It has shocked those of us in the legal community watching the demise of ALM and the layoffs of the most talented that the media has not picked up this story.

Apr 06, 2014 4:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
lawpartnerff wrote:
If ALM is doing so well why was I told when I called about doing a book that the Editor in Chief was gone and that they are not acquiring books anymore?

Apr 06, 2014 4:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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