Digital Media M&A


McClatchy-Owned Real Cities Network Bought By Centro — Online media buying and planning platform operator Centro is going to announce it has bought once-storied local newspaper online rep firm Real Cities from The McClatchy Company. Terms were not disclosed. The purchase comes as local media in general is experiencing both strong growth rates, though newspapers in particular haven’t been able to benefit much. Companies like Centro and Real Cities have been trying to tap the local online media market, with newspapers being a primary client segment. As for what Real Cities brings to the table, it has a network with 1,800 local affiliate sites and claims a combined 44 million monthly uniques on average. For the most part, newspapers in Real Cities’ network consider its services to be complementary to their arrangement with the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Newspaper Consortium. The Real Cities network was formed by Knight Ridder over four years ago and was absorbed by McClatchy in its $4.5 billion purchase of rival newspaper publisher in March 2006. A year later, McClatchy found itself denying rumors that Real Cities would be disbanded.

Cox Enterprises Selling Austin American-Statesman, Valpak Direct Mail Unit, Other Assets — It’s a buyer’s market for newspaper assets right now: Cox Enterprises is the latest to hang a for-sale sign on certain assets, as it’s announced plans to sell the Austin American-Statesman, affiliated site Austin360.com, as well as other standalone community titles in North Carolina, Colorado and Texas. In addition, it’s looking to sell of Valpak, the distributor of direct mail and coupon marketing. The company has hired Citi to manage the sale of the newspapers and Goldman for the sale of Valpak. Major titles remaining in the fold include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Palm Beach Post, Dayton Daily News. It’s not clear how much the company is looking for, but it plans to use the proceeds to pay down debt—just like what’s been going on at Tribune. The company has also shown a willingness to be aggressive in new media inv*stm*nt, as it acquired ad platform Adify in April for $300 million.

News Corp., Permira Finalize Agreement To Take DRM Firm NDS Private — Back in June, News Corp. announced, along with PE firm Permira, plans to acquire the remaining share of DRM and conditional access firm NDS, that it did not already own. The original offer was $60 per NDS share, or $3.6 billion in total. Today the companies have announced a final agreement, valuing NDS’ NASDAQ-traded shares at $63 each. Subsequent to closure, Permira will own 51 percent of the company, with News Corp. owning the remaining 49 percent.

Wasserstein & Co Buying B2B Media Firm Cygnus — Cygnus Business Media, the B2B media publisher which took the unusual step of spreading the word around about it being on the block through a trade pub, has used it again to signal they are off the block now, at least in the process of being. Folio reports that the due diligence phase is complete and a verbal agreement has been reached between media PE firm Wasserstein & Co. and Cygnus-owners ABRY Partners on the deal, expected to close before the end of the month. Cygnus has about 60 magazines and websites, and generates about $120 million in annual revenue…and were reportedly asking for $200 million to $240 million, or about 8x estimated EBITDA, the Folio story says.

Philips Buys Rest of TV And Online Video Monitoring Firm Teletrax — Teletrax, the UK-headquartered TV and online video monitoring and analytics firm, is being completely acquired by Philips, following a board approval by previous owner Medialink Worldwide, the media services firm. Philips currently owns 24 percent of the Teletrax, and will assume Medialink’s 76 percent ownership stake for a reimbursement of up to approximately $275K of certain net operating costs incurred by the company prior to closing, it said. Under the deals, Philips would continue to provide the Teletrax service to Medialink for use by its media communications services clients.

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