TORRANCE, Calif. — Private equity firm Gemspring Capital has acquired the assets of Bobit Business Media, including the B2B media company’s Dealer Group, which publishes Agent Entrepreneur, Auto Dealer Today, F&I and Showroom, and P&A magazines, the companies announced.
Longtime Dealer Group publisher and editor David Gesualdo said the acquisition by Westport, Conn.-based Gemspring represents a step forward for the magazines, which were united under the Bobit banner in 2017 and underpin a series of national training and networking events, including Agent Summit, Compliance Summit, Industry Summit, and P&A Leadership Summit.
“Gemspring sees great things ahead for Dealer Group, and they have backed that assertion with new insights into our industry and the promise of new investments in our magazines and events,” Gesualdo said. “We are at the start of an exciting new chapter for all involved.”
Vice president and group publisher Sherb Brown has been promoted to president and chief revenue officer. Cyndy Drummey will continue as COO. Tariq Kamal and Kate Spatafora have been named associate publisher and managing editor, respectively, of all four Dealer Group titles. Eric Gesualdo will serve as the group’s national sales manager.
Bobit was family-owned since late founder Edward J. Bobit launched Automotive Fleet in 1961. Today, the company publishes 21 titles in four verticals and employs 170 associates working primarily from Bobit’s high-tech headquarters in Torrance, Calif., in Los Angeles County’s South Bay. Ty Bobit became the company’s second-generation chief executive in 2007.
“This was a good time for us [to sell], because the company has been performing well with a good track record of growth,” Bobit told Folio: magazine. “Gemspring realized the potential for the sophisticated digital and data products we’ve built over the past couple of years, along with the outstanding relationships we have with our customers and audiences. They are poised to make investments to take the company to the next level.”
Bobit will be succeeded by incoming CEO Richard Rivera, a 30-year B2B publishing industry veteran who joins the company after serving in leadership positions with EnsembleIQ, CFO Publishing, UBM, and Commonwealth Business Media.
“I am really excited to join a company with such a strong foundation and one that was founded on family values with a purpose and mission to help people and businesses succeed,” Rivera said. “Our job is to carry that purpose and mission forward.”