Rockbridge Growth Equity agreed to acquire 38-year-old luxury lifestyle magazine Robb Report.
Investment partners, including GE Capital, TD Bank and Western Presidio, have been bought out. While the price of the deal remains undisclosed, reports peg the amount Rockbridge paid to be about $60 million.
The deal marks Rockbridge's first foray into traditional media. Its other portfolio companies include Birmingham, Michigan-based Gas Station TV, which it acquired in June and Tampa-based online retail advertising company Triad Retail Media, which it bought in January 2013.
The purchase was led by Dan Gilbert (pictured), the founding partner of the Detroit private equity group, who is also the owner of the National Basketball Association Cleveland Cavaliers team. In 1985, Gilbert founded Quicken Loans, one of the largest online mortgage originators in the U.S. Last year, Quicken Loans bought the mortgage servicing rights portfolio of Philadelphia-based Ally Bank, a unit of state majority-owned Ally Financial Inc., for an estimated $280 million.
The courting process for Robb Report reportedly went on for months, due to negotiations regarding the role of CEO Bill Curtis, who will remain on board as a minority partner. His management team is currently slated to remain in place.
Robb Report, which is published in 14 countries, has a wealthy readership and features purveyors of high-end luxuries such as yachts, private jets and cars. Plans are underway for Robb Report to open a new office in downtown Detroit to support growing digital media and sales initiatives. Up to 40 employees are expected to be added to the magazine's current staff of 110.
Law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP is handling legal matters for Robb Report, with a team that includes New York-based partners Howard Ellin, Diana Lopo, Stephanie Teicher and counsel Timothy Fesenmyer.