Former Technical Execs Score First Media Buy; Jack Abely and Partners Hit Pay Dirt after a Year on the Acquisition Trail

Article excerpt

Jack Abely and

partners hit pay dirt

after a year

on the acquisition trail

If at first you don't succeed . . . The old adage finally paid off for Jack Abely, former president of what was Technical Publishing Company, and two other former Technical senior vice presidents. After a half-dozen attempts to buy publishing properties, the three recently completed a media buy.

Computer & Communications Decisions is the prize. Abely, John Emery and Edwin Burkholder purchased the magazine through their newly formed company, Baetech Publishing, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Baetech has backing from Boston Ventures Management, Inc., an investment banking firm involved in media properties.

The partners' buying attempts began in September of last year, when they tried to stage a management buy out of Technical. The business magazine publishing company, which was part of Dun & Bradstreet Corp., was sold instead to Cahners Publishing Company, Boston, a division of British Reed International.

"We made a substantial bid for the company," says Abely. Not substantial enough. Cahners ended up paying a reported $250 million for the company.

Abely had spent 25 years with Dun & Bradstreet, much of the time heading Technical Publishing and building up its operations. Following the sale, Abely and Emery were "not invited" to be part of Cahners, says Emery. Burkholder spent some time working for the new owner, but left the company about six months ago to join Abely and Emery in their search for magazine buys.

From the start, the publishing executives had the backing of Boston Ventures. The investment company was prepared to help them buy Technical and decided to stick by them when that deal fell through.

After Technical, the partners tried to buy five other properties, says Emery. He will not, however, disclose the names of four of them.

Abely and Emery openly discuss bidding for Hayden Publishing Co., Inc., a New Jersey-based business publishing company that produced Computer & Communications Decisions, Personal Computing and two other magazines. Although the newly formed partnership lost the buy to the foreign VNU United Dutch Publishing Companies, they decided to strike a separate deal with VNU to purchase Computer & Communications Decisions. …