F+W Media Buys Aspire Media

August 4, 2012

Aspire Media, parent company of Interweave, was acquired by F+W Media from private equity firms Frontenac Company and Catalyst Investors and several members of the Interweave management team.


Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Walter Florence, a managing director of Frontenac Company, has joined the F+W Media board of directors, concurrent with the acquisition.


The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. of New York represented Aspire Media in the transaction.


Interweave is a leading multiplatform print and digital art and craft enthusiast media company founded in 1975 and acquired by Aspire Media in 2005. Interweave owns and operates 33 websites; 10 online communities; 10 e‐commerce stores; 11 consumer events; video workshops; 15 consumer art and craft magazines; more than 30 special newsstand publications; and 350 craft books.


Interweave also is the sponsor of three craft television programs that air on public television.


“The Interweave strategy mirrors the strategy set in place for each of our vertical communities,” said F+W Media CEO and Chairman David Nussbaum.


He added, “To provide an expertly curated portfolio of quality content, products and services marketed and sold direct to our comprehensive database of core enthusiasts through our robust e‐commerce stores.”


In 2008, F+W Media established its first direct‐to‐consumer e‐commerce store. Today, the company owns and operates more than 20 e‐commerce stores centered on its enthusiast communities and will add 10 more stores as a result of the acquisition.


The Company’s consumer database, numbered in the millions, now is among the largest in the art and craft industry.


Clay Hall, Aspire Media’s and Interweave’s CEO for the past seven years, said, “I’m very proud of this team’s successful transformation of DIY (Do It Yourself) media for the digital age and am confident that F+W will build on their success.”


In connection with F+W Media’s acquisition of Interweave, neither Hall nor Troy Wells, the company’s CFO, will remain with the company.


Immediate plans for the company include an increased number of digital magazine/content launches through the Interweave digital newsstand; an expansion of the e‐commerce, eBook, and digital pattern business; and an expansion of the live and online education and event business.


“F+W and Interweave are two like‐minded, aligned media entities, with passionate employees who have the honor of serving our vertical enthusiast communities. We share a common mission and vision,” said Sara Domville, president of F+W Media.


She added, “And now, with our combined strengths, F+W will offer our art and craft customers the most comprehensive information, inspiration, products and services available.”


In February, F+W completed the acquisition of The Martha Pullen Company, a leading e‐commerce provider, event producer and content company in the sewing category.


 “Interweave properties are leaders in their communities - there is a history of innovation, entrepreneurism, and proven success,: Nussbaum said.


“We welcome the many talented and passionate Interweave employees to F+W to learn from one another and to be part of our larger, global community.”


According to the Craft and Hobby Association, nearly 66 million U.S. households identify at least one household member as a crafter; in total, U.S. crafters spend upwards of $30.6 billion annually on supplies.


The resurgence of DIY/Crafting is evidenced through the popularity of Etsy.com and Pinterest, new cable television program launches, such as Craft Wars for TLC, and the growth of Interweave’s online communities and digital content products.

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