Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Acquistions that make sense

It's seldom that a B2B media acquisition makes editorial sense to me.
Sure...I understand that trade publishing has become less about publishing and more about trade. I accept, albeit grudgingly, that Wall Street investors play a bigger role in our industry nowadays than do the old-time family publishers.
That's why I'm so pleased when I see someone in B2B make a purchase that seems to be more about content than cash flow.
Cygnus Business Media has announced it has acquired EMS Magazine and a series of related properties. That's about as logical a deal as you'll see this year. EMS serves emergency medical technicians, rescuers and other first responders. Cygnus already owns Emergency Medical Product News as well as Firehouse magazine and some related trade shows. Cygnus also owns Law Enforcement Technology and some related products. So the purchase of EMS means Cygnus is now the dominant player in all three areas of emergency response.
For a reporter, that means every interview with a firefighter can be mined for a story idea about medics. Every article about post-traumatic stress syndrome can be repurposed for cops, firefighters and EMTs. For an advertising salesman or tradeshow rep, the sale means that Cygnus now reaches almost everyone in the U.S. who works with rescue rope, stretchers or walkie-talkies.
In other words, this is a deal full of synergies. And although I loathe the word "synergies," I love the concept.
But while I'm celebrating the Cygnus deal, much of the B2B world is wondering who will acquire Advanstar. For a thoughtful analysis, take a look at what fellow B2B bloggers Rich Westerfield and David Shaw have to say.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Cygnus is a client of mine, and I'll be teaching a two-day writing seminar at the company later this month. And as long as I'm disclosing things, I should mention that I'm a licensed EMT. So it's possible that any deal involving EMS magazine would get me excited.

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