May 08, 2007
Thomson med-ed biz sold to private equity firm
A private equity firm snapped up Thomson Medical Education (TME) for an undisclosed sum and has renamed the company KnowledgePoint360 Group. TME had revenues in the $100-million range and probably fetched between $135 million and $180 million, said a source familiar with the company. The deal, announced April 16th, gives new owner ABRY Partners its first holding in the healthcare sector, one that complements its businesses in the media and communications fields. “ABRY has been interested in investing in the healthcare media space for some time and this looked like a good opportunity,” said Jon Bigelow, president and CEO of the new company. Bigelow came from Cliggott Publishing, where he was president and group VP/general manager of CMPMedica. He reports to the ABRY board of directors. KnowledgePoint360 Group consists of three main areas of focus: medical communications, accredited medical education and speakers’ bureau logistical support. The original operating companies under the TME umbrella will continue under their existing brand names. Bigelow said 600 employees and the original management team also remain, including Chris Stevenson and Viv Adshead, division heads of Physicians’ World and Gardiner-Caldwell, respectively. However, Dik Barsamian, former TME division EVP, did not join KnowledgePoint360. A Thomson spokesman said Barsamian has left the company. TME, formerly part of Thomson Healthcare, was put on the block last year as part of a decision to divest units totaling $355 million. The medical-education units derived much of their revenue from pharmaceutical company grants, a different revenue stream than Thomson’s subscription-based businesses. Thomson recently put its multibillion-dollar education division, Thomson Learning, up for sale, too, in an effort to add capital for acquisitions in its other divisions. Today Thomson said it is in discussion with Reuters Group to acquire the business information company for $17.5 billion in cash and shares. Bigelow said his firm is open to expanding through further acquisitions, if they make sense for the business. “We’re looking to become a market-leading health information company,” he said.