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Incisive Media co-founders exit ahead of expected breakup or sale

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Incisive Media, B2B Media, Finance and Deals


Incisive Media co-founders exit ahead of expected breakup or sale

Incisive Media co-founders Nick Rapley and James Hanbury are leaving the company as part of a management shakeup expected to lead to a breakup or sale of the business, TheMediaBriefing has learned from multiple sources.

Hanbury is group managing director, while Rapley is MD of Incisive's Financial Services Division. The pair co-founded Incisive alongside CEO Tim Weller in 1994, with 13 staff and an investment of £275,000. The business now has more than 600 staff working on B2B publishing brands including Risk and Investment Week.

US managing director Matt McGowan is also understood to have departed, while the head of Incisive's Asia division Jonathan Whiteley is being recalled to London to take on Hanbury's group MD role. 

John Barnes, Incisive managing director for digital and technology, is to take responsibilty for Incisive's North America division, including ClickZ and the SES event series. 

Incisive negotiated a debt-for-equity swap with a group creditors led by Royal Bank of Scotland after breaching debt covenants 2008 as debt grew to nine times EBITDA. That deal meant Apax took full control of Incisive's US-based American Lawyer Media portfolio. 

The covenants were agreed as part of Incisive's $375 million (£246 million) takeover by Apax partners two years earlier.

As a result of the swap, lending banks owned 82.5 percent of the business - with RBS taking the bulk of them - but the banks aren't in the business of running media companies.

Weller told TheMediaBriefing editor Patrick Smith in 2009 that the company “overstretched its balance sheet” and that its new lender-owners were "much more long term in their approach (than Apax) as they’re looking to 2013 for a view (on a possible exit).”

That could mean either a sale of the business, in whole or in parts, is likely soon, and according to people with knowledge of the company's intentions that is expected sometime towards the end of this year or early 2014. 

Incisive has already made one sale this year, offloading consumer publication the British Journal of Photography in a management buyout led by MD Marc Hartog to create new company Apptitude Media. 

Weller was unavailable for comment. 

Image via Flickr courtesey of markhillary

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