Gannett Co. has agreed to partner with Generation Partners to fund the continued growth and expansion of the Captivate Network, which will be spun out into a separate company co-owned by Gannett and Generation.
Captivate Network is a digital media company that operates an IP-enabled digital place-based media network with over 10,000 office elevator displays across more than 1,000 commercial office buildings in the US and Canada. The company was founded in 1997 and acquired by Gannet in 2004. Captivate Network is headquartered in Chelmsford, MA (near Boston) with additional offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto (www.captivate.com).
“Captivate is one of the most established brands in the digital place-based industry, with the largest network in North America to reach a highly desirable consumer demographic in a captive office environment,” said Andrew Hertzmark, managing partner of Generation Partners. “The company has strong, long-term relationships with both advertisers and property owners and our goal through this partnership is to continue to build on Captivate’s 16-year history of providing a valuable experience for viewers, building owners and advertising customers.”
Captivate also announced that Marc Kidd has been named Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Kidd is a marketing, media and entertainment executive who has been on the forefront developing communications platforms to connect branded content with clients wanting to engage their consumers. Having started his career at Host Communications in the early 1980s, Mr. Kidd pioneered the corporate sponsorship business for college and high school sports. In 2004, he joined Winnercomm, which was the leading provider of third-party produced content to ESPN. Mr. Kidd was named COO of Winnercomm in 2006 and became its President in 2007. Outdoor Channel Holdings acquired Winnercomm in 2009, at which point Mr. Kidd became President, Media Sales of Outdoor Channel Holdings. Outdoor Channel enjoyed record sales growth under Kidd’s leadership.
“It is an honor to be given the opportunity to lead Captivate,” said Mr. Kidd. “As a leader in the digital place-based media industry, Captivate is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the growing industry trend of reaching audiences on the go, on the path to purchase. With over 10,000 screens reaching 5.6 million upscale professionals each month in both the U.S. and Canada, Captivate delivers a highly compelling value to advertisers seeking to target a very affluent, but difficult-to-reach, audience. I am thrilled to partner with Generation, Gannett, and the entire Captivate management team and look forward to building on Captivate’s success.”
In addition, Mark Shapiro has been named Captivate’s Chairman and is an investor alongside Generation. Mr. Shapiro has extensive experience and contacts in the advertising, television, sports and entertainment industries and also has a strong track record in the digital place-based media industry. Mr. Shapiro was most recently the CEO of Dick Clark Productions (“DCP”), an entertainment and production company that produced the Golden Globes, the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards and many other hit shows. DCP was sold in 2012 for over $370 million, more than double the acquisition price just four years earlier. Prior to Dick Clark Productions, Mr. Shapiro was the CEO of Six Flags after a highly successful career at ESPN, where he was the Executive Vice President of Programming and Production responsible for the development, acquisition and scheduling of all programming.
“The idea of contributing to a company at the epicenter of content, technology, eyeballs and advertising is extremely appealing and very exciting,” said Mr. Shapiro. “Partnering on this opportunity with Generation and Marc Kidd, both of whom I have known for nearly a decade, combined with the strength and track record of Gannett, provides Captivate with outstanding strategic, financial and execution resources.”
Generation Partners is a private equity firm with over $350 million of capital under management. Generation provides equity capital to growth companies and pursues both majority and minority investments. Over the past 25 years, the firm’s principals have invested in more than 50 companies in three primary industry groups: Media & Communications; Healthcare Services & Software; and Business & Information Services. Generation has offices in Greenwich, CT, Los Angeles, CA, and Austin, TX (www.generation.com).
Gannett (NYSE: GCI) is an international media and marketing services company that informs and engages more than 100 million people every month through its network of broadcast, digital, mobile and publishing properties. The company is based in McLean, VA (www.gannett.com).
© 2013 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 9-27-13