Heavy Reading Gets Pyramid Power

Now that the summer's almost over, look out: Light Reading is putting away the swimwear and getting ready to double in size!

Here's the deal: United Business Media (UBM) today announced it is buying Pyramid Research for $8 million in cash on behalf of its TechWeb division.

TechWeb is the UBM business unit that comprises the Light Reading Communications Group and a lot of other stuff. [Ed. Note: Have a look at the copious logo farm at the bottom of this page if you don't believe us.] So, Pyramid will join forces with Heavy Reading, Light Reading's research arm, to create a more comprehensive provider of communications industry research.

The deal is expected to close in the next few weeks, and Pyramid will retain its corporate headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

Pyramid Research was founded in 1986, acquired by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 1997, then sold to investors operating under the name Executive Insight LLC in 2001. The 50-person firm has earned fame and accolades for its "bottom-up" research approach, where it analyzes communications industry market demand in specific geographies, a contrast to Heavy Reading's more technology-focused, quantitative approach.

The research styles are different, but opposites tend to attract. "A lot of what Light Reading and Heavy Reading do is focused on North America, but the growth in telecom is undeniably in emerging markets," says Dennis Mendyk, managing director of Heavy Reading. "Pyramid gives us a research presence in 100 countries where they track and forecast telecom activities."

Khufu's Pyramid

Dan Schimmel, Pyramid's CEO, says the two companies "really understand and value independent research," which makes the match a good fit. He also notes that Light Reading's business model -- with events, Webinars, and a news operation -- had all the pieces that Pyramid wanted to expand into, and being acquired provides access to those other areas quicker than starting from scratch.

Schimmel will report to Mendyk when the deal's done, and Mendyk says there won't be an immediate change in each company's research offering. What will happen, in 2009, is the development of some "hybrid" research products that combine Pyramid's forecasting and proprietary data with Heavy Reading's technology analysis and insight into carrier technology deployment plans.

As UBM shells out for Pyramid, it's worth noting that it has been on quite a tear in 2008, already announcing nine acquisitions on behalf of its various media properties. For a full list of its holdings, click here.

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading

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