ALM Media Coming Back Full Circle to Wasserstein & Co.

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According to an article in the New York Times today, ALM Media is coming back home. The article claims that Wasserstein & Company will announce on Wednesday that it has bought back ALM Media from its current owners Apax Partners and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (ADR) (NYSE:RBS) (LON:RBS).

ALM Media owns and publishes the well-known American Lawyer magazine, as well as The National Law Journal and other titles.

Wasserstein & Company — together with the Ontario Pension Board, Pantheon, Honeywell‘s pension fund and HighVista Strategies — formed an investor consortium to buy ALM.

The terms of the deal are not likely to be disclosed, but a source close to the negotiations said the price was around $417 million. Incisive Media bought the legal publishing powerhouse in 2007 for more than $630 million.

ALM Media comes full circle

The purported deal will return Wasserstein & Company to control of a company that its founder created some decades ago. ALM Media traces its roots back to Bruce Wasserstein, who began his Wall Street career as a corporate lawyer. Over time, Wasserstein brought together a broad varoety of legal publications and services to support the legal economy.

Incisive, a London-based trade magazine publisher bought ALM in the summer of 2007, just months before the financial crisis roiled global economic markets. The financial crisis and recession were major blows to the enlarged media company, and eventually a reorganization split ALM off from Incisive.

Apax retained a 51% ownership in ALM after the spin off, while creditors led by the Royal Bank of Scotland took the rest of the company and the remainder of Incisive. Apax and RBS contacted legal advisors and began shopping ALM Media around, as the firm reduced costs through layoffs.

Statement from Wasserstein & Company

The NYT saw a statement to be released to the press. “ALM’s publications and digital products are the best in the industry,” said Anup Bagaria, a co-managing partner of Wasserstein & Company. “They are the market leaders, and invaluable to U.S. legal professionals.”

Bargaria continued, “We are excited about the opportunity to work with ALM again to grow its remarkable print and digital products and trade shows.”

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