Deals

J2 Global buys PCMag owner Ziff Davis for $167M

Ziff Davis, owner of popular media properties like PCMag and Geek.com, has been purchased by cloud service company J2 Global for $167 million, the companies announced today.

The all-cash deal will lead to an increase in the J2′s estimated 2012 revenues of $345 million to $365 million, the company said. It will also add $60 million to J2′s 2013 revenues.

J2 offers a variety of cloud-based communication services, including the online faxing company eFax, and backup service KeepItSafe. While the deal obviously gives J2 a leg up in digital media, it’ll be interesting to see what it means for Ziff Davis.

Like many media companies, Ziff Davis has faced a bumpy road over the past few years.  In 2008, the firm filed for bankruptcy protection and ceased production of the print version of PCMag. It was then acquired by the private equity firm Great Hill Partners in 2010. Details of that deal weren’t disclosed, but it was thought to be under $150 million at the time. Vivek Shaw, a former Time Warner media executive, also assumed the chief executive role at ZD at that point.

In addition to media properties, Ziff Davis also owns BuyerBase, a data-driven ad targeting platform. The combination of such a platform with popular web properties could make this deal worthwhile for J2, which is also dabbling in online ads.

“We have years of experience and significant interest in the digital media and online marketing space, both as a large scale consumer of advertising (~$50M per year) and as a seller of advertising on our ad supported properties (e.g. eFax Free) and a provider of marketing and advertising services through Campaigner,” said J2 chief executive officer Hemi Zucker in a statement today. “This acquisition brings scale to this effort with a top leadership team deeply committed to building the business through organic growth, which we expect to continue. This is our 40th acquisition and we plan to grow the business in the same way we have our others – through a combination of internal growth and acquisitions.”

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