AAC makes first splash with Ocean deal

Ocean Media Limited, a UK magazine publisher and exhibition organiser, has been bought for an undisclosed sum by AAC Capital Partners, which was spun out of ABN AMRO’s private equity arm, ABN AMRO Capital Partners, earlier this year.

The vendors were management and institutional backers led by Dublin-based Ion Equity in an off-market sales process. Debt was provided by Anglo Irish Bank.

Cameron McKenna, Grant Thornton Corporate Finance and PricewaterhouseCoopers advised AAC Capital Partners on the first investment under its new name. The transaction is subject to competition clearance.

Ocean Media was formed in July 2006 to buy Inside Communications from Trinity Mirror in an Ion Equity-backed MBO. Its three divisions comprise social housing, including Inside Housing magazine and the Chartered Institute of Social Housing Annual Conference; weddings and bridal, including Bridal Buyer magazine and the British Bridal Exhibition and the National Wedding Show; and leisure and outdoor, including the National Boat and Caravan Outdoor show.

Other publishing assets include The Negotiator, Geriatric Medicine and Build It magazines. The group has expanded its sales from £25.8m in 2005 to £28.6m in 2007.

AAC Capital Partners, which also invested in Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, OvezStraker, TGI Friday’s, Baarsma Wine Group, Sdu and Vetus before spinning out, has installed Trevor Barratt, former managing director of Builder Group and divisional MD of UBM as a director, and Tony Tillin, chair of previous AAC investments Puzzler Media and Quantum Business Media, as chairman.