Chris Ferrell, Patrick Rains and company are returning to SouthComm, Inc.—or, perhaps more accurately, SouthComm is returning to them.
Endeavor Business Media—the firm launched by Ferrell just weeks after his departure from SouthComm last November as part of a “change in strategic direction” at the company—announced Monday that it has acquired SouthComm’s remaining assets, including 17 trade magazines and a handful of affiliated websites and trade shows.
“From the moment I left SouthComm, I set about trying to put together the resources to acquire the B2B brands when the company put them on the market,” Ferrell tells Folio:. “I told the staff this morning that I have been looking forward to this day for eight months.”
SouthComm, which Ferrell founded in 2007 and headed as CEO until last year, had spent the last several months selling off its considerable holdings in the local alt-weekly space piece-by-piece—including the Nashville Post and Nashville Scene, the Washington City Paper, and Kansas City’s The Pitch, among others—in an apparent bid to focus more on its b2b brands, which, by most accounts, were a stronger business.
SouthComm’s financial backer, Nashville-based VC firm Solidus, evidently felt that the shift in focus also required a shift in leadership, and Ferrell was left to form a new venture alongside former Solidus managing partner Townes Duncan and former SouthComm VP Patrick Rains, the latter of whom was named Endeavor’s founding COO.
Since then, Endeavor Business Media has quickly made its presence known with a series of acquisitions in the b2b media space, including the initial January purchase of Grand View Media’s Process Flow Network and the May acquisitions of KSR Publishing and Gallo Business Media. Amid those expansions, Endeavor recruited another former SouthComm exec, VP Scott Bieda, who will now presumably reassume oversight of the public safety group titles he had previously led at SouthComm.
Following today’s acquisition of SouthComm’s assets, Endeavor says it now houses a total of 23 publications, 17 digital properties, and 20 recurring live events.
Apart from CEO Blair Johnson and CFO Bob Mahoney—who had been running day-to-day operations at SouthComm following Ferrell’s departure but will not be joining Endeavor—Ferrell says “most” of the existing SouthComm employees will be retained after the acquisition, and that Endeavor intends to maintain SouthComm’s office in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
“I really do believe these brands have a lot of room to grow,” adds Ferrell. “We were on the right track with SouthComm and I want to see it through with Endeavor.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Endeavor added that Nashville-based debt and equity investor Resolute Capital provided funding for the acquisition.
Divested of both its city and regional media brands and its b2b properties, SouthComm’s only remaining asset is Target Marketing, a Kentucky-based provider of promotional print products to local chambers of commerce around the country.