Bain Capital Ventures and Shamrock Capital Growth Fund today completed the purchase of Publishing Group of America (PGA). The deal opens a new chapter in the phenomenal growth of PGA, which has bucked the magazine industry trend by turning newspapers into a pipeline for innovation in magazines, digital media and branded content.
“We’re buying a jewel in the media business,” said Paul Zurlo, Venture Partner at Bain Capital Ventures. “The growth is available in magazines, digital and branded products, and we intend to push the throttle to take advantage of them all.”
“PGA is a pioneer, and it can be a powerhouse,” said Robert Perille, Managing Director at Shamrock Capital Growth Fund. “PGA capitalizes on the underappreciated power of the hyper-local newspaper pipeline by complementing local news with special interest magazine content.”
At a time when conventionally distributed magazines have struggled against declining newsstand sales, cost-pressures in sub scri ption sales, and toughening advertiser demands, PGA has grown rapidly. Its flagship magazine, American Profile, launched in 2000 as a weekly for small-town community newspapers, earned Launch of the Year honors, and has since grown to 9 million circulation. Relish, the first newspaper-distributed monthly, launched in February 2006 with 6.8 million circulation through largely suburban market newspapers — becoming the largest ad-supported food magazine overnight — earned Launch of the Year honors, and upped circulation to 9 million in 2007.
In January, Relish increases to 12 million circulation, while American Profile increases to 9.8 million. Then, in September, a new health magazine, Spry, makes its debut in a projected 9 million households.
What’s more, magazines are only the launching pads for PGA brands. Already, the company has sold more than 200,000 books drawn from magazine content, started a record label tied to the flagship (“American Profile Presents”), and syndicates content to newspaper web-sites as well.
“Our new owners will have extensive background in media and entertainment. Even with a great track record to date, we expect to accelerate growth from here,” said Dick Porter, CEO of PGA. “We are just getting started.”
Franklin, TN-based Publishing Group of America publishes American Profile, Relish and Texas Profile magazines. American Profile debuted in April 2000 as the second largest publishing launch in U.S. history; it is distributed through more than 1,400 newspapers with a combined circulation of over 8 million. Relish debuted in February 2006 as the largest advertising-supported food magazine, with a circulation of 6.8 million via newspapers, and has grown to 9 million effective January 2007.
Texas Profile debuted in September 2006 with a circulation of 625,000 via newspapers. The company publishes a series of cookbooks (“Hometown Recipes”), a custom publishing business, and operates Hometown Content, a syndicated news service for print and web, and Hometown Promotions, an integrated marketing service. The company has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Franklin, TN.