NEW YORK, August 16, 1999 — PRIMEDIA Inc. (NYSE: PRM) and Ripplewood Holdings L.L.C. announced today that they have signed a purchase agreement for PRIMEDIA to sell its Supplemental Education Group to a company controlled by Ripplewood for $415 million. PRIMEDIA had announced its plans to sell the group, which includes Weekly Reader, American Guidance Service and PRIMEDIA Reference, in April as part of its strategy of focusing on targeted consumer and business-to-business media.
“The Supplemental Education Group includes some of the finest properties and brands in the field and we are excited about the prospects of welcoming the businesses’ management and employees,” said Martin E. Kenney, Jr., Ripplewood’s Industrial Partner in educational publishing. Ripplewood, which was founded in 1995, acquires strong platform companies and pursues strategies to support the operating management who also take equity stakes in the acquired companies. Supplemental Education is an important focus in Ripplewood’s investment portfolio that also includes Jostens Learning Corporation, a leading provider of technology-based education products and services to schools.
“We are pleased that the buyers of the group are committed to continuing the exceptional growth of the business,” said Charles G. McCurdy, president of PRIMEDIA. “Proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce our debt and free up funds to invest in the growth of our targeted media businesses.”
The transaction, which is structured as an equity recapitalization, is subject to the securing of financing by Ripplewood and its partner SG Capital Partners LLC. PRIMEDIA will retain an approximate 5 percent equity stake in the firm.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Berkery, Noyes & Co. acted as advisors to PRIMEDIA.