BMP Media Holdings Acquires 60% Ownership in Artnews S.A.
October 8, 2015, New York — Warsaw – BMP Media Holdings LLC has completed today the transaction to acquire 60% ownership in the Warsaw Stock Exchange listed Artnews S.A. (WSE: ATN) for a total consideration of PLN 63.86 million (US$ 16.9 million). As a result of this transaction, all of BMP Media Holdings art media publications including Art in America, The Magazine Antiques and Modern, as well as Artnews S.A. publications ARTnews, Art & Business and its Skate’s Art Market Research business unit, will operate under the newly combined Artnews S.A.
“With the completion of this transaction we have created the world’s largest and most influential print and digital publisher of art news, critical reviews and information. Under the new Artnews S.A., we have the most complete archive of art history and events of the past 100 years, and also offer the most comprehensive coverage of the classical, modern, contemporary and decorative arts fields,” said Peter M. Brant, owner of BMP Media Holdings LLC and now the majority controlling shareholder of Artnews S.A. “The new Artnews S.A. will utilize its combined forces and iconic media titles to expand digital content and online news reporting, grow European market share and create new business offerings uniquely targeted to art lovers around the world.”
Effective immediately, Dan Gardner, Heiner Rutt and Ed Sherrick will join the Supervisory Board of Artnews S.A. Mr. Gardner is Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director of Code & Theory, Mr. Rutt is the former Managing Director of Carlyle Germany and one of the founding members of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) who helped establish the company as the leading consultancy in Germany and throughout Europe, and Ed Sherrick was previously Senior Vice President and CFO of White Birch Paper. The Board will be reduced from seven to six individuals to meet requirements of Deutsche Boerse where the firm intends to list next year in addition to its existing Warsaw listing.
Artnews S.A. will continue to be run by its current CEO, Izabela Depczyk who led on the turnaround of ARTnews magazine acquired by what is now Artnews S.A. from Milton Esterow in April of last year. The turnaround includes achieving profitability in the U.S. six months ahead of schedule, maintaining profitability of the print magazine ARTnews since May 2015, repositioning Skate’s Art Market Research as the art business intelligence unit of Artnews S.A. and transforming Artnews.com as the growth leader in terms of digital audience and digital only revenues among other art media peers.
“We have an extraordinary pool of talent in our combined organization, total dominance in the U.S. print market in terms of paid and verified circulation, global leadership in the art business intelligence field through our Skate’s business unit and maintain strategic focus to make Artnews.com the world’s largest digital art media business in terms of both audience and revenue by integrating the journalistic content, data and research from all of our media properties on a single Artnews.com platform,” commented Izabela Depczyk, Chief Executive Officer of Artnews S.A.
The New Team
In addition to Ms. Depczyk as CEO, the newly combined Artnews S.A. organization includes Szczepan Adamski who will continue in his role as General Counsel and Mark Korb will remain as Chief Financial Officer. Cynthia Zabel, previously the Publisher of Art in America, will become head of sales for Artnews S.A., and Violeta Breheny, the former head of ARTnews S.A.’s U.S. operations, will assume the role of Director, Operations.
On the editorial front, Lindsay Pollock and Sarah Douglas will run editorial for Artnews S.A. Ms. Pollock will continue as Editor in Chief of Art in America and will build upon the strength of the last five years in which newsstands sales grew 12 percent. Ms. Douglas will focus on further expansion of Artnews.com and ARTnews quarterly print issues. The Company’s entire online content is to be consolidated under the Artnews.com domain before the end of the year and the platform will be also used as the key driver for European expansion. Dina Veprinsky, the Director of Production at Artnews.com, will continue in this capacity and will oversee the production process for the merged company.
Elizabeth Pochoda will continue in her role as Editor of The Magazine Antiques and Beth Dunlop will remain Editor of Modern. Art in America, The Magazine Antiques and Modern will remain in print under the current publication schedule (eleven, six and four issues per year respectively), thus giving ARTnews and Art in America subscribers up to 25 more print issues a year depending on their subscription plan.
As the group’s digital media properties will be consolidated around Artnews.com this will become the primary source of growth for the Company going forward through introduction of various new digital products, databases and services and rollout of Artnews.com in-language sites across various European markets in 2016.
As the core element of the digital strategy, Artnews S.A. will allocate further resources to expand the suite of products and services provided by Skate’s, the art business intelligence unit of the company, and expanding its premium subscription offer already fairly successful with large corporate art industry customers.
About the New Artnews S.A.:
ARTNEWS S.A. is the world’s leading print and the fastest growing online art media business with its media properties including print magazines Art in America, ARTnews, The Magazine Antiques, Modern and Art & Business, digital properties www.artnews.com and www.artbiznes.pl and Skate’s Art Market Research business intelligence unit. ARTNEWS S.A. is publicly listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE:ATN) and its controlling shareholder is BMP Media Holdings LLC, owned by Peter M. Brant. The company’s primary operations are located in New York.