Entrepenuer Media Deal Blows Up; CEO Backs out of Sale

This story was written by Rafat Ali.
Wow...this one blew up big time. Entrepreneur Media, the Irvine, CA-based parent of Entrepreneur magazine, has called off the sale of its company at the last second. In a memo to employees on Thursday, obtained by Folio, Entrepreneur CEO Peter Shea announced the decision not to proceed with the sale. The company was in the process of being bought by Austin Ventures and Castanea Partners for around $160 million, and we had been reporting on the process all along. The deal was supposed to be finalized this month.

Shea explained his reasoning for not going through with the sale: "There are several reasons for this. One being that I decided that I am not ready to retire, another reason being that the debt market has made it a very difficult market for [buyout] funds to raise debt financing at a reasonable multiple and percentage rate." He goes on to say: "the proposed sale of Entrepreneur Media was only contemplated because of a very good offer, not because the company is in any trouble. In fact, we are debt free and have been for the past 5 years." There's that, but also there were other controversies which may have played some part in the decision from the PE firms side (though I have no insider knowledge on that front): number of senior employees leaving in the last few months, the company's continued legal suits with the like of Ernst & Young, and other issues about buying traffic for its website.

By Rafat Ali