Private equity firm Catalyst buys RBI Australia

Private equity firm Catalyst buys RBI Australia

The sale of Australia’s largest business to business publisher is expected to be finalised soon, with private equity firm Catalyst Investment Managers picking up the company.

Reed Business Information Australia (RBIA), which counts B&T, Australian Doctor, Money Management, and Australian Mining amongst its stable of print and digital titles, will be renamed under a new company created with funds managed by Catalyst.

The Australian arm of Reed Business Information was put on the market last March as it increasingly diversified from the parent group’s long-term plans of a paid content models and data services.

However, the complex nature of the business, which includes online directories sites including HotFrog and GoHospitality, led to protracted negotiations.

No sale price has been revealed, but the deal is expected to be completed in the next three weeks, with a new strategic plan put in place for the business after that.

Catalyst’s other investments, which total $3bn, include Global TV, a leading provider of equipment for the Australian production industry and broadcasters.

RBIA CEO Jeremy Knibbs said the sale to Catalyst will provide a “step change” for the organisation, and increase innovation, allowing it to “focus on the specific and changing needs” of audiences and advertisers.

In an email circulated to staff Knibbs said there will be “no shocks or radical changes” which have not already been contemplated, adding perceived private equity tactics of shedding staff and stripping out cost bases is “not an attractive approach” for Catalyst.

The current management team will also stay in place, and a board featuring key RBIA management, two senior Catalyst staff and independents will make overarching decisions going forward.

In a statement Trent Peterson, managing director of Catalyst, said: “There are significant growth opportunities available to the business. The company will continue to innovate and proactively manage the transition to a multi channel environment.

“The important role of leading and niche publications with multi channel operations and deep reach into target audiences is only increasing.

“RBIA’s broad portfolio of titles and formats, spanning a wide range of channels to market and industry verticals, puts the company in a strong position to deliver outstanding results for its customers.”

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