London-based Incisive Media announced today its acquisition of ALM from U.S. Equity Partners for $630 million. ALM owns and publishes 33 national and regional magazines and newspapers focused primarily on the legal community, including The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, Corporate Counsel and Law Technology News. It also owns Law.com. The announcement describes Incisive Media as “a rapidly growing provider of specialist business information, operating in four principal markets: financial services, risk management, professional services and marketing services.” Among the publications it owns is the U.K. legal periodical Legal Week.
At his blog LawBeat, Mark Obbie, former executive editor of The American Lawyer, calls the sale “a journalism plus” given Incisive’s track record of quality legal journalism. I agree. Even more significantly, I think, is that the deal will enable ALM to move towards becoming the global journalism operation it has wanted to be and should be. My understanding is that one reason it changed its name from American Lawyer Media to just ALM was to position itself as a more global company. Although ALM has made various forays into Europe and Asia, it has never seemed able to gain a strong foothold there. This is good for ALM and it is good for ALM’s audience. Increasingly, both the practice of law and the business of law are global enterprises. To cover them well, the news organization also needs to be global.