New owner plots growth for FoodService Director

New company called CSP Business Media.

July 2—The team that built one of business-to-business publishing’s most respected media companies has acquired the parent concern of FoodService Director magazine, MenuDirections, and all related information vehicles.

Redwood Acquisitions LLC, a venture of Hanley Wood veterans Michael Wood, Sr., and Michael Wood, Jr., closed Monday on the purchase of CSP Information Group, Inc. Senior management of CSP participated in the deal, whose terms were not disclosed.

All executives and employees of CSP were retained.

"We formed Redwood to identify and acquire premium information brands in the B2B space," said Mike Wood, Jr., president of Redwood Acquisitions, which is jointly owned by him and his father, Michael Wood. "CSP quickly went to the top of our list due to its rapid growth, strong management team, and progressive culture."

Wood Jr., will become CEO of the acquired company, which has been renamed CSP Business Media LLC. .

"The goal is to continue the dramatic growth CSP has achieved over the last six years, during which the company tripled revenue,” Wood Jr. said. “We expect to invest in and grow CSP's existing businesses, particularly in the digital, mobile and information realms, and to become an active acquirer of c-store, restaurant and foodservice industry media, trade shows and data businesses."

The Wood family successfully employed such a plan at Hanley Wood, a B2B publisher that specialized in the construction trades. Hanley Wood was founded by Michael Wood, who will serve CSP Business Media as chairman.

He will be joined on the board by friend and former partner Michael Hanley, who is also an investor in the company.

The pair, who started with a single magazine, eventually sold Hanley Wood to JPMorgan Partners for $250 million. The company has been a perennial winner of the Jesse H. Neal Awards, the Pulitzer Prizes of B2B publishing.

After the sale of Hanley Wood, the elder Wood was named the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden.

Paul Reuter, the founder of CSP, and Jim Dickens, the company’s longtime COO, will serve as senior advisors to the new company. Reuter will remain on the board as chairman emeritus.

"I couldn't be happier for the men and women of our company, whose experience and tight connection with their industries has produced a constant stream of power brands," said Reuter. "And I couldn't be happier for our customers as the new ownership team takes the company to the next level. I look forward to my new role as Chairman Emeritus and member of the board."

Scott Allmendinger remains executive vice president and editorial director of CSP’s foodservice group, whose other titles include Restaurant Business magazine, Monkeydish.com, FSD Update, ID Report, and the Restaurant Leadership conference.

The company also publishes CSP, a publication for convenience-store operators and executives, and FARE, or Foodservice at Retail Establishment, a magazine for retailers who sell ready-to-eat food. 

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