Prism bags Supermarket News and Penton Media

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Prism Business Media Holdings Inc. on Nov. 2 acquired the assets of Supermarket News, and on the same day it announced plans for the $194.2 million, all-cash purchase of rival Penton Media Inc.

The deals mark further consolidation of a rapidly changing business-to-business publishing market roiled by rising printing and postage costs, changing reader habits and advertisers fleeing to the Internet. The role of private equity investors in publishing and marketing services is also hastening the consolidation.

Prism wouldn't comment on either deal. Financial terms of the Supermarket News deal were not disclosed.

Supermarket News is the leading trade weekly in the food retailing business. Its qualified print circulation is 32,000. The title's fate was unclear after Advance Publications, New York, bought its New York-based owner, Fairchild Publications, from Walt Disney Co. in 1999.

Though highly respected in its field, Supermarket News was not a clear fit with other titles in the Fairchild portfolio including Jane, W and Women's Wear Daily. Those publications also have more in common with Advance-owned Conde Nast  titles like Vanity Fair, Vogue, Domino, Lucky and Glamour.

Supermarket News, its supplements and its Web site at www.supermarketnews.com will now form the core of a new retailing group at New York-based Prism.

Meanwhile, the deal between Prism and Cleveland-based Penton, the two key media players in the BTB space, will value the total Penton purchase at $530 million taking into account the assumption or repayment of the expected debt at closing.

Approvals for the Penton purchase are expected in the first half of 2007.

Penton Media publishes titles like Air Transport World, American Machinist, Business Finance, Equipment Show Daily, Food Management, Foundry Management & Technology, Gases & Welding Distribution, Homeland Response, Hydraulics & Pneumatics, IndustryWeek, Modern Baking and SQL Server Magazine.

That stable will now join Prism's portfolio including Beef, American Cowman, Bulk Transporter, Delta Farm Press, Corn and Soybean Digest, Hay & Forage Grower, Mine & Quarry Trader, National Hog Farmer, Promo, Religious Conference Manager, Remix and Waste Age.

Prism previously was Primedia Business Magazines & Media until its sale a few years ago to U.S. Equity Partners II, an investment fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co. LP, also owner of the New York magazine. Other investors in U.S. Equity Partners II include Highfields Capital Management and Lexington Partners.

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