MidOcean Partners, a middle market private equity firm, and Wasserstein & Co., an independent private equity and investment firm, announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to sell Penton, an innovative professional information services company, to Informa plc (“Informa”) for $1.56 billion. The consideration will consist of $1.46 billion of cash (plus adjustments) and $100 million of Informa stock.

Under MidOcean and Wasserstein ownership, Penton has been significantly transformed from predominantly a print business into a preeminent professional information services company. Penton has successfully completed 13 acquisitions, creating scaled positions in growth-oriented sectors—including agriculture, transportation, natural products/food, infrastructure, and industrial design/manufacturing sectors. Today, Penton has seven of the top 250 largest trade shows in the U.S., which have helped drive an event revenue CAGR of over 20 percent over the last four years. Additional significant investments have been made to create an industry leading team that has built a state of the art digital platform, launched numerous SaaS products and built a scaled and fast-growing digital content marketing services business.
“We are very pleased by the transformation we have helped Penton achieve. The business has successfully transitioned from a traditional business-to-business publisher into a premier professional information services business over the last few years,” said Anup Bagaria, Co-Managing Partner of Wasserstein and Co-Chairman of Penton, and Michael Struble, Partner of Wasserstein and Director of Penton. “The management team has done an excellent job establishing scaled, leadership positions in Penton’s core verticals. Through continuous improvement of its core offerings, new product launches and strategic M&A, Penton has grown impressively in recent years and positioned itself to accelerate growth in the years to come.”
Barrett Gilmer, Managing Director of MidOcean and Co-Chairman of Penton, said, “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Penton and the Company’s success under CEO David Kieselstein. This investment exemplifies the value we bring to our portfolio companies by working closely with management teams to identify attractive areas for expansion, enhance operations and drive growth. In this case, under David’s leadership, and in particular over the last four years, Penton achieved a dramatic shift in its business mix, completed a number of highly strategic acquisitions and nearly doubled EBITDA from $77 million to $140 million. The entire Penton team played a role in this transformation and we wish them continued success as part of the Informa team.”
“MidOcean and Wasserstein are seasoned, hands-on investors and have been invaluable partners in supporting Penton and allowing us to execute on our strategy,” said David Kieselstein, CEO of Penton. “Their strategic insight, resources, flexibility and experience in the media services sector have been essential to our transformation by enabling our organic growth through new investment initiatives and sourcing and coordinating multiple accretive acquisitions.”
The transaction, which is subject to approval by Informa shareholders and customary regulatory and closing conditions, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Penton and MidOcean. Jones Day served as legal advisor to Wasserstein.