Wicks sells Northstar Travel Group to Wasserstein

Wasserstein Partners has acquired Secaucus, New Jersey-based Northstar Travel Group, a business to business publisher of news and information for the travel, meetings and hospitality industries. The seller was the Wicks Group of Companies. Wasserstein partnered with co-investors Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund Board, John Hancock and Storebrand Insurance on the transaction. No financial terms were disclosed. Harris Williams provided financial advice to Northstar on the deal while Macquarie Capital did likewise for Wasserstein.


SECAUCUS, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wasserstein Partners acquired Northstar Travel Group, the leading provider of business-to-business information, content, events, data, research, custom content and software dedicated to the global travel and meeting industries, from the Wicks Group of Companies. Investing alongside Wasserstein Partners IV were its co-investors, Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund Board, John Hancock, and Storebrand Insurance.

Northstar is the owner of well-known brands including Travel Weekly, TravelAge West, Business Travel News, Successful Meetings, Meetings & Conventions, Travel Weekly China, Incentive, M&C China and Web in Travel. The company produces more than 50 face-to-face events in thirteen countries in retail travel, corporate travel, travel technology and the meetings industry. In addition, Northstar owns Phocuswright, the leading research, business intelligence and event producer serving the fastest growing segment of the travel industry, on-line travel distribution. Northstar is also the majority shareholder in Inntopia, the leading SaaS e-commerce software provider serving the mountain destination, activities, and specialty destination travel markets.

“We are excited to welcome Wasserstein as our new partner to provide the capital and investment experience to help Northstar achieve our next phase of growth serving one of the largest and most dynamic industries in the world: global travel and tourism,” said Thomas Kemp, Chairman & CEO of Northstar Travel Group. “Wicks has been a great partner to the company and we thank them for providing guidance and insight over the last four years.”

“We are very impressed with the growth of Northstar Travel Group over the last few years,” said Anup Bagaria, Co-Managing Partner of Wasserstein. “The management team has done an excellent job of transforming its core business into an integrated information, data, software, event and marketing solutions company.”

Michael Struble, Partner of Wasserstein added, “We have known Tom and Northstar for many years. We are excited about investing in the company’s continued transformation and growth through geographic expansion, new product development and strategic acquisitions.”

“We are very pleased to complete the sale of Northstar to Wasserstein,” said Daniel Kortick, Managing Partner of Wicks. “We wish the team and Wasserstein the best as the company embarks on its next phase of growth.”

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Harris Williams represented Northstar Travel Group in the transaction and acted as its exclusive financial advisor. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP provided legal advice.

Macquarie Capital provided financing and acted as financial advisor to Wasserstein on the transaction. Jones Day served as legal advisor to Wasserstein.

About Northstar Travel Group
Northstar Travel Group is the leading provider of business-to-business news, information, data, software, and custom content solutions for the travel, meetings and hospitality industries and parent company of brands including Travel Weekly, Travel Weekly China, Travel Weekly Asia, TravelAge West, Business Travel News, Travel Procurement, Phocuswright, Meetings & Conventions, M&C China, M&C Asia, Successful Meetings, Meeting News, Incentive, Family Getaways, Explorer, Web in Travel and Inntopia.

Northstar’s databases — Travel Weekly’s Hotel & Travel Index, Official Cruise Guide, and Meetings Facilities Search — provide in-depth data on hotels, meeting and convention properties, and business travel in the United States and internationally.

Northstar publishes a number of online subscription information resources and workflow solutions including Phocuswright Research, The Beat, travel42, STAR Service Online, Intelliguide Corporate and AudienceInsights.

Northstar produces more than 50 face-to-face events including The Phocuswright Conference, Phocuswright Europe, Phocuswright India, CruiseWorld, CruiseWorld China, Global Travel Marketplace, Global Travel Marketplace West, Mountain Travel Symposium, The Global Incentive Conference, The Meetings Leadership Forum, SMU International, Independent Planners Education Conference, Meetings Destination Summits, The Beat Live, Tech Talk, Innovate, Entertainment Travel Summit, Global Travel Risk Summit, Strategic Meetings Summit, Business Travel Trends Forums, the Travel Weekly Leadership Forums, the Web in Travel conferences, WITX: Women In Travel, WIT Hospitality, and WITNext.

Northstar is the controlling shareholder in Inntopia, the leading SaaS e-commerce software platform that provides innovative solutions of reservation technology and e-commerce services to destinations, ski resorts, vacation hotels, golf courses, attraction parks, and tour operators as well as lodging, activity, event, and transportation suppliers.

Northstar is the industry leader in marketing solutions, custom content communications, content licensing and database management serving the travel and meetings industries. Northstar Marketing Solutions leverages the proprietary content, databases and expertise of the team to produce unique custom content solutions to our clients.

Based in Secaucus, NJ, the company also has offices in New York, NY; Glen Ellyn, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Winston-Salem, NC, Stowe, VT, and global offices in Singapore, Beijing, and Shanghai.

About Wasserstein Partners IV
Wasserstein Partners IV is a mid-market buyout fund managed by WP Capital Management, the private equity investment company formerly associated with Wasserstein Perella Group and Wasserstein & Co. The firm manages capital on behalf of institutional and individual investors. Its investment activities are focused on the media and communications, consumer products and water and industrial sectors. WP Capital’s investment team has completed 27 platform acquisitions and 48 add-on acquisitions over a 23-year period. WP Capital is located in New York. For more information, visit www.wasserco.com.

About the Wicks Group of Companies
The Wicks Group of Companies is a private equity firm based in New York City that invests in lower-middle-market companies operating in selected segments of the information, education and media industries principally in the United States and Canada. Since its founding in 1989, Wicks has invested over $1 billion of capital in 30 platform companies and approximately 100 add-on acquisitions. The firm has applied a consistent investment strategy since its founding, partnering with high-quality, experienced management teams to build businesses organically and through acquisitions. For more information, visit (www.wicksgroup.com)