China Oceanwide, IDG Capital agree to acquire IDG

IDG publications, analyst firm IDC and venture capital firm IDG Ventures are included in the deal

China Oceanwide Holdings Group and China-based IDG Capital have agreed to acquire tech journalism pioneer International Data Group, publisher of PCWorld, Computerworld, and hundreds of other tech publications worldwide.

Tech analyst firm IDC and venture capital firm IDG Ventures are included in the deal, announced Thursday. The size of the deal was not officially released, although a Wall Street Journal story put the price at less than US $1 billion.

IDG, a privately held company, operates in 97 countries. It was founded in 1964 by Patrick McGovern, who died in March 2014. Since then, the company has been run by a board of directors, which has been seeking a buyer for about a year.

IDG brands also include CIO, Macworld, InfoWorld, CSO, Network World, CMO and IDG.tv. IDG is also the parent company of the IDG News Service.

China Oceanwide is a privately held international conglomerate founded by Chairman Zhiqiang Lu in 1985. The company operates businesses in the financial services, real estate assets, media, technology, and strategic investment markets, and it has more than 12,000 employees globally.

The company purchased a stake in Lenovo's parent company, Legend Holdings, in 2009. It has continued to expand globally and in October last year, it agreed to buy U.S.-based insurance firm Genworth Financial for for $2.7 billion in cash.

China Oceanwide sees media as a new area for investments, according to its web site. IDG is a "natural extension" of China Oceanwide's international portfolio, Lu said in a press release. "As a world leader in market research and insights, a publisher of many of the tech industry's most established media brands, and a successful venture investor, IDG's strong global brand and profile make for an attractive strategic investment for us."

IDG Capital is an independently operated investment management partnership, with IDG as one of many limited partners. It was formed in 1993 as China’s first technology venture investment firm.

The sale will continue McGovern's vision of IDG, said Hugo Shong, founding general partner of IDG Capital and chairman of IDG Greater China.

"IDG’s culture is at the core of its success, and its strength has always been rooted in the talent and dedication of its people," he said in a press release. "Our focus going forward will be on investing in the company and its people for growth over the long term, as we carry the flag for Pat's legacy for many years to come."

The deal, expected to close in the first quarter of this year, has received approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a U.S. government body, the companies said.

When the deal closes, China Oceanwide will become the controlling shareholder of IDG's operating businesses, including IDC and IDG Communications, while IDG Capital will become the controlling shareholder of the IDG venture business.

IDG will continue to be headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and managed by its current team. Kirk Campbell will continue as president and CEO of IDC, and Michael Friedenberg will continue as CEO of IDG Communications. A new board of directors will be appointed.

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service
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