Frontenac Publishing Co. Will Target IT Services –

Frontenac Co. last month formed 101Communications, a platform that will look to acquire information technology-related publications and information services, said Laird Koldyke, a general partner at the Chicago-based firm.

To get the effort off the ground, Frontenac has partnered with Curt Hessler, an executive who has worked in the information technology and publishing industries, who will head the platform as chairman and chief executive officer.

According to Mr. Koldyke, Frontenac has made an initial commitment of $30 million to fund early acquisitions, although it may commit more as the platform grows. Early acquisitions likely will be conservatively leveraged in order to allow capital for the continued growth of the company, Mr. Koldyke said, adding that Frontenac hopes to grow the company to annual revenue of between $100 million and $150 million.

101Communications will look to acquire information technology-related trade magazines, newsletters and journals, as well as Internet-based information and e-commerce news services. The firm also anticipates that as much as 40% of the company’s revenue eventually will be derived from non-publishing entities, including trade shows, seminars and conferences.

Frontenac was first attracted to the sector by its high level of fragmentation-Mr. Koldyke said the trade publishing industry generated more than $9 billion in revenue for 1997 and that there are more than 7,000 titles in the U.S., 80% of which are owned by companies with fewer than 10 publications-and large advertising revenue. For 1997, information technology publications generated more than $3.5 billion from advertisers. “From an advertiser’s standpoint, this is a very important audience to stay in front of,” Mr. Koldyke said.

Previously, Mr. Hessler worked as CEO of Quarterdeck Corp., a software company, and I-Net, a network management services provider. He also has worked at Unisys Corp. and was executive vice president of non-newspaper properties for Times Mirror Co. Mr. Hessler did not return calls.