Boston Ventures Signs for Travel Pubs –

Private equity firm Boston Ventures this month inked a deal with London-based publisher Reed Elsevier PLC to purchase the Cahners Travel Group for an undisclosed value.

The deal, which is expected to close in early September, will be financed with a combination of senior debt and equity from Boston Ventures Partnership VI. Andy Davis, a director at Boston Ventures, declined to comment on the size of the fund, which he said closed earlier this year.

One financial publication valued the purchase at approximately $70 million. Davis would not comment on the accuracy of that report. Boston Ventures will take a majority stake in the company, while management, led by George Hundley and Scott McIlhenny, will also put up capital and take a minority stake.

The group publishes worldwide destination information for businesses in the travel and hospitality industry including directories such as Hotel Travel Index, Official Hotel Guide, Official Meetings Facilities Guide, International Cruise Guide and Business Travel Planner, and periodicals such as Travel Weekly, Travel Age West and Meetings and Conventions. “I think it’s a very unique opportunity,” said Davis. “These titles are the leading titles in the travel and hospitality industry, and we think with some investment in the company there’s significant growth potential.”

Davis said the company has a proprietary database of hotels, cruises and official meeting facilities that Boston Ventures plan to leverage either through licensing opportunities and/or joint ventures with other parties to do electronic bookings.

Investment bank Allen & Co., based in New York, is representing Reed Elsevier and Cahners in the transaction. Boston Ventures did not retain an adviser.

Since its conception in 1983, Boston Ventures has invested in a number of publishing companies such as American Media, a tabloid publisher; Baetech Publishing, a publisher of computer industry trades; Bill Communications, a business-to-busniess publisher of industry magazines; Billboard Publications, a b-to-b publisher of media/entertainment magazines; CPP/Belwin, a print music publisher; National Law Publishing, a newspaper and magazine publisher for the legal community; and Shore-Varrone, a trade magazine publisher.