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Apprise Media Acquires Beckett Publications, Leading Publisher in Sports and Entertainment Media

Establishes platform in enthusiast publishing

Apprise Media LLC, a niche media company backed by Spectrum Equity Investors, today announced that it acquired Beckett Publications, the leading publisher of sports and entertainment market collectible guides. The company, to be called Beckett Media LP, will provide Apprise with a platform for continued growth in the sports and entertainment markets as well as other enthusiast categories. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Beckett Publications, based in Dallas, Texas, publishes nine monthly magazines plus periodic collectibles and trading card pricing guides. Titles include Beckett Baseball, Beckett Football, Beckett Basketball, Beckett Hockey, Beckett Racing, Beckett Anime Collector, and Neopets: the Official Magazine. The company also operates Beckett Grading Services, a leading third-party professional sports card grading service and Beckett.com (www.beckett.com), the leading online destination for sports collectible enthusiasts.

Charles G. McCurdy, Chairman and CEO of Apprise Media, said, "For more than 20 years, Beckett has dominated the market for print and interactive collectible card guides, both in sports-oriented sectors including baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and stock car racing, as well as the anime area of entertainment such as Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh. We plan to continue to improve the company’s electronic information delivery platform and expand its focus on fee-based specialty services like grading/certification, while seeking new product and service segments.

"We have many years of experience in enthusiast publishing. We see great opportunity to broaden Beckett’s products and audience reach online as the sports and entertainment collectibles market continues to grow online through direct sales sites such as Beckett.com and auction sites such as eBay, already a strategic partner of Beckett. At the same time," he added, "Beckett’s proprietary, statistics-grounded methodology for valuing collectibles has potential applications in a wide range of popular collectibles, and we will work to exploit them."

Dr. James Beckett, founder of the company will remain with Beckett as an advisor. "This company has had remarkable growth over the last 20 years, both in print and electronic media," he said. "I am delighted to hand it over to Apprise Media, which has an excellent track record in growing niche media businesses, both print and interactive. I am very confident that Apprise, working with the Beckett Publications team, will take the company to the next level."

ABOUT APPRISE MEDIA LLC

Formed in 2004, Apprise Media (www.apprisemedia.com) is a strategic management and investment company. Controlled by Charles G. McCurdy, a co-founder and former President of Primedia Inc. (NYSE: PRM), Apprise Media acquires and builds businesses in the targeted media and publishing sectors. Apprise and Spectrum Equity Investors (www.spectrumequity.com) have joined forces in an investment initiative that has committed $175-$200 million of Spectrum’s capital for strategic investments in niche media and publishing businesses. Spectrum Equity Investors is a private equity investor specializing in investments in companies in the media, information services, communications, information technology and business services industries. Founded in 1994, Spectrum manages private equity funds representing $3 billion in committed capital.

ABOUT BECKETT PUBLICATIONS

Based in Dallas, Beckett Publications is the leading publisher of sports and specialty market collectible products in the U.S. Beckett operates Beckett.com (www.beckett.com), the leading online destination for sports collectible enthusiasts, and is the premier publisher of monthly sports collectibles magazines. Beckett, considered the world’s most trusted source in collecting, currently publishes nine monthly magazines. Its flagship title is the popular Beckett Baseball Monthly. The company also operates Beckett Grading Services, a leading third-party professional sports card grading service. The company was founded in 1984 by Dr. James Beckett. In the mid-1970s, while a statistics professor at Bowling Green State University, he published his first baseball card price guides as "free-upon-request" pamphlets to, in his words, "bring order out of the chaos that existed" in the baseball card industry. Those pamphlets led to annually published price guides and were the forerunners of Beckett’s monthly collectibles magazines.

Source: Apprise Media LLC
Date: January 26, 2005

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