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Dow Jones to buy Alternative Investor Group for $85 million

20 February 2004  |  1538 views  |  0

Dow Jones & Company (NYSE: DJ) announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire the stock and assets comprising the Alternative Investor Group of Wicks Business Information, LLC for a cash purchase price of $85 million, including net working capital (Dow Jones will assume no debt in the transaction).

The purchase will be financed via operating cash flow and incremental borrowings under the Company's commercial paper program. The purchase price could potentially be increased by $5 million, payable in 2008, if performance in 2007 exceeds currently projected 2007 levels. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2004.

Alternative Investor is the leading provider of databases, newsletters and industry conferences for the venture-capital market and newsletters and events for the private-equity market. It had 2003 revenue of $23.1 million and pro-forma EBITDA1 of $9.5 million. The transaction is expected to be modestly accretive to Dow Jones earnings per share in 2004.

To maximize synergies, Alternative Investor will be integrated within the highly profitable Dow Jones Newsletters division, which also includes the recently acquired Technologic Partners business that also serves the venture-capital and private-equity markets with its VentureWire newswire and conferences. This newly formed operating unit providing newsletters, databases and conferences will be operated within the Dow Jones Newswires division, which in turn is part of the Dow Jones Electronic Publishing segment. Richard A. Shaffer, founder of Technologic Partners, will be editor and publisher of this unit, reporting to Paul Ingrassia, president of Dow Jones Newswires.

"For more than a century, Dow Jones has been the leader in coverage of public companies and public markets. Now we will also be the leader in news and information on private companies and private markets," said L. Gordon Crovitz, senior vice president of Dow Jones & Company and president, Electronic Publishing. "We are very pleased to make this acquisition and add this coverage at a time when venture-capital and private-equity firms are once again increasing their key role in global capital markets."

"The core capability of Alternative Investor is gathering, interpreting and publishing financial-market information for the benefit of financial professionals and markets - a very similar mission to Dow Jones Newswires," said Mr. Ingrassia. "We will add Newswires content and expertise to benefit Alternative Investor customers. In turn, Newswires customers, especially brokers and wealth managers, will benefit from access to the Alternative Investment products to assist them in advising their high-net-worth clients. Mr. Ingrassia concluded, "We are delighted to welcome the many talented employees of Alternative Investor to the Dow Jones family and look forward to working together to build these strong brands."

"The quality and performance of the core products within Alternative Investor have been impressive over recent years despite a challenging business environment," said Doug Manoni, chief executive officer of Wicks Business Information. "The resilience of their performance stands as a testament to both the strength of the brands and the commitment of the employees."

Alternative Investor Products - Databases, Newsletters and Conferences
Alternative Investor produces five databases. These include Venture Source, which since 1987 has been the leading source of information on venture-capital deals, companies and people. This database, based in San Francisco, is built on proprietary information about which funds are investing in which companies and at what valuations. Venture capitalists then are able to use this information to analyze investing opportunities.

Alternative Investor publishes four newsletters and other publications, including Private Equity Analyst, which since 1988 has been the authoritative source of news and information covering the private-equity market and its investment specialities, including venture capital, leveraged buyouts, mezzanine investing and turnarounds.

Private Equity Analyst, based in Wellesley, Mass., also conducts the Private Equity Analyst range of eight annual conferences, the leading gatherings of the private-capital industry.

Alternative Investor Expands Dow Jones Capabilities
Alternative Investor will expand Dow Jones Newswires capability to provide news and information in different channels of distribution.

"We want to broaden ways of distributing our financial news. Electronic newsletters, databases and related conferences provide another channel of distribution for our products-complementing our strong distribution base on market-data terminals," Mr. Ingrassia noted. "This acquisition is a rare combination of market-leading content and products that fit perfectly with that strategy."

Dow Jones Newswires currently publishes 20 newsletters for specialized markets in both public and private-capital markets. These newsletters include Daily Bankruptcy Review, Daily Bankruptcy Review-Small Cap, Dow Jones Corporate Governance and High Yield Weekly. (A full list of Alternative Investor Properties and Dow Jones Newsletters can be found on page 7 of this release). In addition, Technologic Partners has eight newsletters, including VentureWire Professional, which is the leading news service for the venture-capital community, VentureWire Wireless, VentureWire Lifescience and ComputerLetter. This group of high-priced newsletters has several thousand subscribers.

Complementary Services

Venture Source, Private Equity Analyst and the other Alternative Investor products will draw on content from all Dow Jones publications and its network of more than 1,500 news staff around the world. Likewise, content from the Alternative Investor products will be made available to other Dow Jones publications and services.

Alternative Investor has major offices in Wellesley, Mass., and San Francisco, with news bureaus and sales offices in New York and London.

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