Apprise Media, the Spectrum Equity Investors-backed publishing platform launched last spring, has gone extreme with the acquisition of CFW Enterprises Inc., a publisher of paintball and martial arts enthusiast publications.
CFW, named for Curtis F. Wong, the company’s founder, has been re-named the Action Pursuit Group of Apprise Enthusiast Media LLC. CFW, which is based in Burbank, CA, publishes Action Pursuit Games, Paintball, Inside Kung Fu and Grappling.
According to Charles McCurdy, Apprise’s co-founder, CFW has a dominant position in the paintball enthusiast field and a strong position in the martial arts segment, giving Apprise a good angle in the niche market.
“With CFW there were good products in a good market with good management,” said McCurdy.
The management that McCurdy refers to is going to be led by Craig Nickerson, who was most recently CEO of Primedia’s Automotive Enthusiast and Action Sports Group. Prior to that, he held executive positions at various advertising and communications companies, one being CFW.
According to McCurdy, CFW was attractive largely because of the strong management in Nickerson who would take on the company in Southern California. Also, in terms of operating base, McCurdy said that, through Beckett Media, another company under the Apprise umbrella, the company would be able to “leverage some resources already in place to support a niche publishing business.”
Beckett, a publisher of sports card pricing guides, was acquired by Apprise in January of this year.
McCurdy identifies CFW as having growth potential, especially in a variety of areas on the circulation side. He said that there is room to nurture the subscription activities and make them better, as well as to foster a more specialized distribution of the magazine to martial art schools and paintball facilities. In addition, he said that Apprise recognizes potential in the production and publication of instructional books and videos in the martial arts category and potentially in the paintball industry.
“We’ll improve some traditional circulation and enhance the special retail distribution “in addition, the company is underdeveloped in its advertising selling efforts and we’ll support that,” said McCurdy.
He adds that there is a plan to launch related magazines, as well as to make selective add-on acquisitions.
This acquisition was a private negotiation. Though financial terms were not released, McCurdy did disclose that the transaction was financed entirely though a credit facility that was put in place specifically for the acquisition. Beckett, McCurdy noted, was acquired with all equity, and ultimately over-equitized, allowing Apprise used that leverage capacity in this acquisition.
Apprise Media, formed in 2004, is a strategic management and investment company, which acquires and builds businesses in the targeted media and publishing sectors. Spectrum, according to past press reports, has agreed to commit between $175 million and $200 million to the Apprise platform.
In addition to CFW and Beckett Media, Apprise also recently acquired Canon Communications, a publisher of business-to-business print publications from New York-based buyout shop Veronis Suhler Stevenson . McCurdy is joined at Apprise by Michael Behringer, the senior vice president of development. Both McCurdy and Behringer were formerly executives at Primedia.