Private equity has been a like a drug dealer Advanstar Communications just can’t shake. For the past 20 years, the company’s entanglements with buyout firms have created a rollercoaster of near-disasters, yet the company keeps going back for more.
Advanstar been around the Park Avenue block, with private equity fingerprints going all the way back to when LBOs were still called LBOs. In 1987, the company underwent a Kidder Peabody-backed MBO after fending off several hostile takeover bids. The debt from that deal eventually sent the company into bankruptcy in 1989, at which point Goldman Sachs gained control of the company through a debt-for-equity swap.
Then in 1996, the company narrowly avoided another bankruptcy (according to reports at the time) when Hellman & Friedman purchased the company for $237 million. H&F led Advanstar through 28 acquisitions over its four-year stewardship, including a deal for its most profitable business, apparel industry expo MAGIC Marketplace. H&F exited Advanstar with a sale to DLJ Merchant Banking in 2000 for approximately $900 million. After at least one failed exit attempt, DLJ sold the business to Veronis Suhler Stevenson, Citigroup Private Equity and New York Life Capital Partners, for $1.14 billion.
So to recap: Kidder Peabody –> Goldman Sachs –> H&F –> DLJ –> VSS and friends.