Two more media executives entered the real estate industry this week with the purchase of Prince Communications, the parent company of real estate publisher Homes & Land. But unlike some of its media counterparts, Atlanta-based Endurance Business Media has no clear plans to continue buying into the real estate space.
“We were less driven by real estate. We were more excited to buy (Homes & Land because) the real estate advertising market is strong, and the company has a great management team and terrific associate publishers,” said Blair Schmidt-Fellner, partner of Endurance.
Schmidt-Fellner and partner Gerry Hogan formed the holding company in 2001. Homes & Land is its first asset.
The 31-year-old company publishes 254 home listings magazines across the U.S. and Canada. The magazines are distributed through a network of 170 franchisees. The company also publishes Home Guide Magazines, Estates & Homes Magazines and Rental Guide Magazines.
Endurance has capital on hand and plans to purchase more publications, but those won’t necessarily be in real estate. The company is discussing adding new magazines, which may be in different markets altogether, but would be distributed the same way as Homes & Land.
“We’re going to over the next two years add (magazines) that are successful and distribute the same way,” said Schmidt-Fellner. “They might be (real estate-related) as long as they don’t conflict with our associate publications right now.”
Schmidt-Fellner and Hogan are new to real estate. The two executives ran a print media company, Cygnus Business Media, prior to forming Endurance. They sold Cygnus, which published 60 business-to-business publications, in 2000.
Hogan and Schmidt-Fellner worked together at Turner Broadcasting Systems in the late 1980s. Hogan was president of Turner Entertainment Networks, launched Turner Network Television (TNN) and is former CEO of the Home Shopping Network. Schmidt-Fellner was EVP of Turner Private Networks and founded SportSouth Network.
Asked how their television broadcasting background might play into their plans for Homes & Land, Schmidt-Fellner said only that the partners aren’t planning many changes for the company.
“(T)he company has never been running better,” he said. “We don’t want to fix something that isn’t broken.”
Kelso & Co., a New York-based private equity investment company, provided additional financial support to Endurance’s Homes & Land acquisition. Kelso has helped fund other media ventures, including acquisitions in broadcasting, cable television, newspaper publishing and outdoor advertising.
Frances Lowe will act as COO of Homes & Land and continue to run day-to-day operations. Hogan and Schmidt-Fellner will be more involved in the company’s strategic direction.
Lowe sees the acquisition as a positive change for the company and its franchisees. She’s confident Endurance’s background will help Homes & Land grow.
“The franchise network is very happy (with the acquisition). They’ve had nothing but positive things to say about it,” Lowe said.
Homes & Land currently provides for-sale homes information to RealEstate.com, which LendingTree purchased in December. Homes & Land is still in discussions with RealEstate.com about how the acquisition will affect the content agreement.
The Homes & Land Web site displays about 160,000 for-sale properties. Endurance hasn’t yet planned for any changes in that department.
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