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Abacus e-Media announces buyout, plans for audience development tools

  • Significant investment from three leading figures from the publishing and new media world – Sherren, Durham and Miller
  • Experienced management team will drive expansion of publishing business
  • Development of new Audience Development product to complement existing CMS leadership
  • Imminent acquisition of a customer data and fulfilment company


Abacus eMedia
Abacus e-Media has announced the completion of a management buy-out from its owner of four years, Bond International Software PLC. The management buy-out, which was finalised on Friday 8th April 2011, is backed by funding from management and from external private investors, including three of the publishing sector’s most well-known and experienced players – Graham Sherren, Martin Durham and Nick Miller.

Abacus was founded in 1983 and has become established as a leading online supplier for both the media and public sectors. In the media sector the company’s flagship Webvision CMS platform supports the online properties of leading publishers such as EMAP, Centaur, UBM, Macmillan and Thomson Reuters. Public sector clients include Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Oxfordshire County Councils, and the Bank of England.

A core objective for the newly independent Abacus in the months ahead is to accelerate the development of a suite of Audience Development (AD) tools for the media sector. The new web-based Audience Development platform, ADvance, will allow B2B and consumer publishers to sell and manage their print and online subscriptions, registrations and events in a single coordinated fashion. For the first time integrated print fulfilment and online access control will work hand in hand. Perhaps even more important in terms of supporting business growth, powerful BI and ETL tools will give the marketers the opportunity to generate campaigns, and to mine and segment audience data from whatever source, that will in turn inform new product development.

Steve Feigen has managed Abacus through a number of acquisitions and continues as Managing Director of Abacus e-Media. Ian Eckert will lead the new Audience Development business reporting to Steve. Ian returned to Abacus e-Media in 2009 following board roles as Internet Director at CMP Information, and at TSL Education.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the big advantages publishers have in the online space are their trusted brands and long-term relationships with customers. It is critical that these relationships are fully leveraged but all too often existing systems and suppliers act as a barrier to achieving this. Our Audience Development platform will change this – allowing publishers to mine the rich seam of data they have on their readers and users - ultimately leading to better-focused product, significantly enhanced customer service and improved return on investment from both print and online activities.

“ADvance has been designed in close consultation with the publishers. In fact we’ve been overwhelmed by the fantastic feedback from potential partners who have quickly grasped ADvance’s potential to help drive revenue and profit.”

To complement this initiative Abacus plans to acquire an established customer data and fulfilment business within the next three months.

The new investment also brings with it a wealth of senior publishing management experience:

Martin Durham joins as non-executive Chairman. From 1994-2009 he was Chairman and Managing Director of Haymarket Business Media, and prior to that he was Managing Director of IDG Communications.

Graham Sherren, founder and ex-chairman of Centaur Communications (now Centaur Media) joins the board as a non-executive director and investor.

Nick Miller also joins the board as a non-executive director and investor. His thirty years in business and consumer publishing include a period as Group COO at Wilmington, and he was also Chairman of WDIS, Wilmington’s own circulation business, now part of CDS Global.

Abacus e-Media is an Associate Member of AOP.

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