Oswald, Prairie Form Fortis Business Media, Acquiring M. Lee Smith Publishers
BRENTWOOD, TN, August 29, 2007 - Specialized information industry veteran Dan Oswald has teamed with Prairie Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm, to recapitalize long-time newsletter publisher M. Lee Smith Publishers LLC. This will also create a new entity that will facilitate expansion into new specialized information areas. The new company, Fortis Business Media LLC, acquired the Nashville-area M. Lee Smith Publishers, of which Oswald was majority owner.
“Our plans for Fortis include building the company into a leading provider of specialty business and legal information," stated Steve Groya, managing director at Prairie. "Our initial acquisition of M. Lee Smith Publishers gives us a company with a strong, recognizable brand and quality products which will serve as a great foundation for what we intend to do. We see this as the first of a series of acquisitions that will be used to grow Fortis into a significant business-to-business information company.”
Dan Oswald, CEO of Fortis, commented, “I’m excited about the opportunity to build a leading specialized information company with the team at Prairie. In working with them for the last three years, I’ve learned that they’re a proven partner with a track record of success. Having M. Lee Smith Publishers, a company which I obviously know very well, serve as our platform for this newly formed company will allow us to expand quickly through new product launches and acquisitions.”.
NewStar Financial, Inc provided financing for the transaction by serving as the Sole Lender and Administrative Agent. “NewStar is pleased to be supporting M. Lee Smith Publishers and Prairie Capital and we look forward to working with the Company as it continues to grow its business and launch new and unique specialized information products," said Ernie Panos, a Managing Director in NewStar’s middle market originations division.
About M. Lee Smith Publishers
Started in 1975 with the publication of still-successful The Tennessee Journal, M. Lee Smith Publishers today offers more than 130 nationally-acclaimed newsletters, videos, software, books, and directories to attorneys, human resources professionals, and other business executives. The company works with many of the nation’s most prestigious law firms and other subject-matter experts to provide the most authoritative and timely information to the markets it serves.
About Prairie Capital
Prairie Capital makes equity and mezzanine investments of between $5 and $25 million, typically in support of companies undergoing an ownership change. With over $500 million under management through its four funds, Prairie Capital focuses on the lower end of the middle market, partnering with management and/or other private equity investors to effect a recapitalization or buyout. Since the firm's inception in 1997, Prairie Capital has completed more than sixty equity and mezzanine investments in small and mid-sized businesses. Prairie is based in Chicago and invests nationwide.