Active Interest Media (AIM) Makes Another Move into Consumer Shows

SANDI CAIN, NEWS EDITOR
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El Segundo, CA – Active Interest Media Inc. (AIM) has acquired Yachting Promotions Inc. of  Fort  Lauderdale, in a move that marks AIM’s entrée into boating events.

Yachting Promotions (YPI) produces and manages five annual boat shows, including the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the largest in-water boat show in the world. YPI operated as a division of Fort Lauderdale-based Show Management Inc., whose assets included the shows. Another division, Yachting Promotions-Gulf Inc., was included in the purchase, according to AIM President and CEO Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III.  “One of the reasons YPI was attractive to us was that they really know how to (stage) shows and can help us in all our segments,” Zimbalist said. [For more on Skip Zimbalist, read the May issue of Trade Show Executive  for a close-up interview in “Power Lunch” by TSE columnist Bob Dallmeyer].

Kaye Pearson, owner of YPI, has managed the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show since 1976. He has taken it from a hardly noticed event to one of worldwide stature.  He will serve as a consultant to AIM for two years.

Scott Peters, a managing director of The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI), provided advisory services to AIM on the transaction. The price was not disclosed. “Skip Zimbalist and his team worked very hard in completing this complicated transaction and it will serve as a very valuable business within Active Interest Media’s portfolio,” Peters said.

Zimbalist says the acquisition meshes with the company’s strategy and is similar to what many B-to-B companies are doing to broaden their reach.  “It is critical to publications in special interest areas to touch the customers and bring them information in multiple ways,” he said. “That makes the relationship between the reader and the magazine personal.”

The five boat shows produced by YPI bolster AIM’s event portfolio to 18, including 12 shows in the log home market and a martial arts festival launched in 2005. AIM publishes eight magazines in the art, food, building and martial  arts sectors including Southwest Art, Vegetarian Times, Better Nutrition, Log Home Design Ideas, Building Systems and Black Belt.  AIM also produces and markets over 75 martial arts videos and books, including several by the legendary Bruce Lee.

The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, produced for the Marine Industry Association of South Florida, typically displays more than $1.6 billion in boat inventory and accessories and draws more than 100,000 people annually. Last year, the show was postponed by a week due to Hurricane Wilma. Other shows in the portfolio include the Miami Yacht and Brokerage Show, the Palm Beach Boat Show, the St. Petersburg Fall Show and the Suncoast Boat Show.

Zimbalist said AIM is actively seeking other acquisitions that mesh with the company’s magazine portfolio. In particular, he said they are seeking shows to pair with Southwest Art and with the company’s Healthy Living Group.

Wind Point Partners, a private equity investment firm headquartered in Southfield, MI, formed AIM, in partnership with Zimbalist in October 2003. Zimbalist was Chief Financial Officer of Times Mirror, which  publishes the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, New York Newsday and others.  Zimbalist also served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Times Mirror Magazines,  a leader in sports publishing with such titles as Golf Magazine, Yachting, Salt Water Sportsman, Popular Science and  Field & Stream. He has an MBA from Harvard and is the son of actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr., who  starred in  77 Sunset Strip and The FBI.

Reach Skip at  Zimbalist at (310) 356-4135 or  ezimbalist@aimmedia.com; Scott Peters at (212)754-0710 or speters@jegi.com; Kaye Pearson at (954) 764-7642.