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Blackstone acquires tech publisher IDG for $1.3B, as private equity strikes again

·2-min read

It's been a busy week for private equity, with Cloudera, Stack Overflow and FireEye coming off the board on Tuesday and Wednesday. Today Blackstone bought media and data company IDG for $1.3 billion. The company had been owned by Oriental Rainbow, LLC, a subsidiary of China Oceanwide Holdings Group, Co. Ltd.

With IDG, Blackstone gets tech analyst firm IDC along with a collection of tech publications that includes CIO, Computerworld, InfoWorld, Macworld, Network World, PCWorld and Tech Hive. The media publishing arm was once a powerhouse in the 1990s tech publishing world, although its shine has faded in recent years as the publishing industry in general has come under intense pressure.

The company has also been making some additions to the platform more recently with a stronger focus on data and analytics. Last year it bought Triblio, a marketing data platform to help companies deliver more personalized customer experiences. Last month it acquired Metri, an IT pricing service, which can help with IT budgeting and procurement. The latter could dovetail nicely with IDC's consulting services.

Company CEO Mohamad Ali is hoping that Blackstone can infuse more capital into the company to keep building on its software services with a data focus. "Additional capital investment from Blackstone will allow us to cultivate our rich history of innovation and accelerate our product roadmaps to bring our customers the deeper insights and data they need to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving digital economy," Ali said in a statement.

That sounds like he wants to increase his data bet. It seems that the data side of the business was particularly attractive to Blackstone as well. "The high-quality data, analytics and insights IDG delivers to technology leaders are only becoming more critical as the pace of growth and innovation accelerates," Peter Wallace, Global Head of Core Private Equity at Blackstone said in a statement.

The company launched in 1964 with the consulting side of the business, but founder Pat McGovern had a broader vision and began the publishing side of the company in 1967 with the launch of Computerworld. The publishing business actually grew to become an integral part of the rise of the PC and the technology shift that occurred at a personal and business level in the 80s and 90s. It's unclear what this deal will mean for the publishing side of the house or where that would even fit as it continues the push to focus on data and analytics.

It's worth noting that Verizon Media, which owns this publication along with Engadget, was also recently sold to a private equity firm, Apollo Global, as the private equity push into all parts of the technology ecosystem continues.

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