Apprise's Charlie McCurdy Talks About the Decision to Sell Canon
Several weeks ago, Apprise Media Chairman and CEO Charles G. McCurdy and his company were the focus of dozens of industry headlines with the news of its impending sale of Canon Communications to United Business Media Ltd. (UBM) for $287 million. Canon Communications is a b-to-b media and events company in the advanced manufacturing sector, which Apprise and its financial partner Spectrum Equity Investors purchased five years ago for $200 million.
Canon's senior operational management team is expected to remain with the business, which will be renamed UBM Canon, and McCurdy will become a consultant to UBM/Canon upon the closing of the transaction, expected to occur before the end of this month.
Part of the reason for the brouhaha surrounding the sale is Canon's size and position in the industry. The Los Angeles-based company produces 24 magazines, 41 trade shows, 45 websites and more than 100 e-mail newsletters, as well as webcasts and online video production. It employs 343 staff members worldwide.
But the other reason is the significant growth Apprise Media was able to achieve, especially in light of the economic storm battering the industry the past two years.
Apprise has some expertise in this area; it specializes in acquiring and growing media companies, and then selling them for a profit (essentially "company flipping," though perhaps a significantly slower pace than a typical "house flipper"). The company's principals have acquired more than 20 companies, completed more than 200 follow-on acquisitions, and raised more than $9 billion in debt and equity financing in just seven years at Apprise and during McCurdy 's time as co-founder and president of Primedia Inc., where he employed acquisition as part of the company's overall growth strategy.
Here, McCurdy, who founded Apprise Media in January 2004 with Michael Behringer, shares his insights into the Canon sale as well as its timing, and the strategies employed to grow Canon Communications significantly—in essence to achieve what all media companies today are striving for: significant growth in digital revenue and diversified products.