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Veronis Suhler Stevenson Announces Sale of Atwood Publishing and GEM Communications to Ascend Media

NEW YORK, (March 5, 2003) – Media merchant bank Veronis Suhler Stevenson has sold Atwood Publishing and GEM Communications to Ascend Media, a portfolio company of JP Morgan Partners, the private equity arm of JP Morgan Chase & Co. Atwood and GEM were subsidiaries of The Official Information Co. – a portfolio company of VSS’ private equity affiliate VS&A Communications Partners II L.P. Atwood is the leading publisher for trade industry associations. GEM Communications is the world’s leading publisher of magazines, conferences and exhibitions for the gaming industry.

Ascend Media’s formation was announced in August, 2002. The Atwood/GEM acquisition is the company’s first and will serve as its business platform company.

“Ascend Media is both pleased and excited to announce the completion of this acquisition,” said Cameron Bishop, Ascend Media’s president and CEO. “Atwood/GEM is a profitable and well managed business. Financially, they have performed remarkably well, showing substantial growth in a difficult business-to-business media economy. They have experienced and proven people and a solid infrastructure that is poised and ready to absorb the kind of growth we intend to add to the business.”

“Atwood Publishing and GEM Communications are fine BtoB publishing assets which have performed very well in an extremely difficult operating environment for BtoB properties,” said VSS Partner Scott Troeller. “They will be excellent additions to Ascend Media as they look to build their business. Separately, we are pleased to have been afforded an opportunity to invest in Ascend and to work with them to find other properties which fit their growth strategy.”

Ascend Media was formed and incorporated by JP Morgan, Cameron Bishop and Dan Altman in 2002. Its stated business plan is to build a diversified business-to-business media powerhouse to reach revenues in excess of $100 million. The company intends to target professional magazines and journals, conferences and trade shows, and Internet properties and databases serving the health care, business services and transportation industries. JPMP has committed a minimum of $50 million in equity capital to invest in Ascend Media.

Additionally, in a separate transaction, VS&A Communications III L.P. has acquired a stake in Ascend Media LLC in order to partner with JPMP and Ascend Media’s management team in building Ascend Media into a major business-to-business publishing and information entity.

Veronis Suhler Stevenson is a leading independent merchant bank dedicated to the media, communications and information industries. VS&A Communications Partners III, LP (Fund III) is the third private equity fund managed by Veronis Suhler Stevenson. Capitalized at $1 billion, it is one of the largest private equity funds dedicated exclusively to investments in the media, communications and information industries. Together with Fund III’s predecessor funds, VS&A Communications Partners has invested in 30 platform companies across media segments and the realized and unrealized enterprise value of these investments total approximately $5 billion.


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