Bisnow Acquires SelectLeaders Real Estate Job Network
Commercial real estate news and events company Bisnow Media has made its first acquisition, buying a company it hopes will help it achieve its goals of being a one-stop-shop for information and connection in the CRE industry.
Bisnow has acquired SelectLeaders Real Estate Job Network, a 17-year-old commercial real estate job board, in an all-cash transaction. SelectLeaders will keep its brand and staff as part of the acquisition, which closed Monday.
SelectLeaders CEO Susan Phillips co-owned the company — which serves as the exclusive job listing service for a dozen commercial real estate professional associations — with her husband and founder, Anthony LoPinto.
Phillips will transition away from day-to-day operations, while Marc Torrey and Oliver Medcalf will stay on to lead the brand as vice president of growth and director of operations, respectively.
“Bisnow reaches almost everyone within commercial real estate. A lot of people know of SelectLeaders, but not everyone is using it,” Bisnow CEO Will Friend said in an interview. “Our goal is to provide a one-stop-shop for the entire commercial real estate industry to find the talent they need to accomplish their mission or the platform they need to reach the next stage of their careers. We have the reach and the tools to drive that market share, and that’s what we want to do for SelectLeaders.”
Phillips and LoPinto declined to comment on the transaction.
Since its founding by Mark Bisnow as a commercial real estate industry email update in 2005, Bisnow has grown to reach 30 million readers in almost 50 markets in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland. This year, it has held nearly 350 events attended by almost 100,000 people in the commercial real estate industry.
The company was recapitalized in 2016 when its executive team, led by Friend, brought on private equity firm The Wicks Group as a majority owner. Since then, Bisnow’s staff has roughly doubled in size, it has expanded internationally, grown its morning and full-day events business, and the company’s news division has shifted from writing mostly lighthearted, personality-driven pieces to serious journalism, including winning multiple awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors the last two years.
“In order to reach that next level, we needed our management team to be completely aligned in that direction,” Friend said. “Bisnow was continuing to do fun news pieces. We said, ‘Let’s build serious news, take the risk of being fair and accurate, building a brand that is world-class, and from that, we’ll be able to drive significantly more traffic to our website and grow our digital audience and our digital client base.’”
When Wicks came on board, one of the first stated goals for Bisnow was an acquisition. But Friend said the company was patient and selective — it turned down many chances to buy other companies — to make sure that the first business it bought would make financial sense and add to Bisnow’s offerings.
“SelectLeaders was the first company that we came across that had the most obvious synergies, and relative simplicity as it relates to integration within our existing business, which I think is important to consider for anyone doing their first acquisition,” Friend said.
Heading into 2020, SelectLeaders will start publishing two new “digital assets,” Friend said: one for employers and one for employees. The weekly newsletters will be sent to curated lists with relevant articles to each group and include potential candidates or job openings, respectively. The brand’s job boards are expected to be integrated into Bisnow’s digital products as well.
Beyond the new products, Bisnow plans to invest in SelectLeaders to fuel more growth, enhance its online presence and grow its digital advertising tools. Friend said the opportunities to enhance the core business of SelectLeaders, which already serves as the job board to industry groups National Multifamily Housing Council, NAIOP, CCIM, CREW Network and the Urban Land Institute.
“SelectLeaders hasn’t even scratched the surface of what they can do, they have so much opportunity,” Friend said. “Our hope is that by acquiring them and investing in them in a big way, we’re able to take what they’ve already done and do it many times over to an even greater segment of the industry.”