Member Profile: Cision's Blockbuster Acquisition of PR Newswire Puts It at Intersection of Content/Social Marketing and PR

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This week Chicago-based Cision announced that it will acquire news release distribution company PR Newswire from UBM for $841 million (the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016).

 The deal is Cision’s fifth acquisition in the past 18 months (a run that included the purchase of social media company Visible Technologies and media intelligence company Gorkana Group, as well as a merger with public relations software firm Vocus) and represents a new approach to public relations, according to Cision senior vice president and product lead, content and e-commerce, Heidi Sullivan.

 “We see synergy between content marketing, social marketing and PR,” said Sullivan. “We are building a comprehensive PR platform to manage the total life cycle of communications.”

 Cision is focused on developing media intelligence tools to assist clients through that life cycle. “Our tools are dedicated to marketing and media solutions and distribution, including digital channels, e-mail and social media monitoring but also traditional media (print, TV, radio) and the analytics on top of that,” said Sullivan.

 As for UBM, the sale of PR Newswire represents further concentration on its events business, which included the nearly $1 billion acquisition of Advanstar and its 54 trade shows (including the Magic Marketplace fashion shows) last year, as well as the divestiture of UBM’s agriculture and medical general practitioner brands and its data service businesses. "Today's announcement represents a significant step in the execution of UBM's 'Events First' strategy, the objective of which is to become the world's leading focused B2B events business," said CEO Tim Cobbold in an official statement.

Matt Matt Kinsman is vice president of content + programming at Connectiv, the only association focused on the integrated b-to-b model—including publications, events, digital media, marketing services and business information. Prior to joining Connectiv's predecessor American Business Media in 2011, Kinsman was executive editor of Folio:, the leading information provider for the magazine industry.