After sale, SaaS, global markets are the next big opportunities for Northstar
July 17, 2012 - While the parties involved are keeping a lid on details, the acquisition of Northstar Travel Media was one of the largest in the b-to-b media industry this year, with more than 10 companies participating in the management phase, according to Northstar CEO Tom Kemp.
And unlike many of the deals that have defined b-to-b media M&A over the last three years, this was not a distressed transaction. Northstar radically changed its approach, going from 74 percent of revenue coming from print in 2009 to 40 percent today, while digital revenue has doubled, earning an EBITDA multiple in the “mid-to-high single digits.”
“This is still a fragile M&A market,” Kemp said in a video interview with ABM. “B-to-b has not been in fashion lately. Generally, ad-supported media, consumer, newspapers, TV stations — a whole host of ad-supported media has been out of favor. Our core competency is not to publish magazines, our core competency is to bring buyers and sellers together through a variety of these vertical channels.”
That includes capitalizing on new opportunities. Last year, Northstar launched its own dedicated marketing services group, and future efforts will focus on developing software and technology for the travel industry, including becoming a SaaS (software as a service) provider.
Still, even beyond the successful reinvention and sale of Northstar, Kemp is especially proud of one fact. “Not one person lost their job with this sale and no new management team is coming in,” he said.
View ABM's entire video interview with Kemp, below.
By Matt Kinsman