Mergers: it's our turn again

If you have been reading Trailer/Body Builders consistently this past year, you may have noticed that we have had a lot of stories on mergers and acquisitions.

Last year alone, we published almost 50 stories on various mergers and acquisitions involving our readers. There have been enough deals to have touched just about everyone in the industry — manufacturer, dealer, distributor, supplier.

Mergers and acquisitions are not unique to the manufacturers and distributors of commercial truck bodies, trailers, and truck equipment. It's a trend that seems to be cutting across a wide range of businesses — including the publishing industry and your industry publication.

Trailer/Body Builders has been part of two mergers within the past year — once as the “acquiree” and most recently as part of the acquiring company.

Mergers and acquisitions frequently involve cases in which one company buys another and leaves everything intact as long as the acquired company continues to perform and do the things that made it an attractive acquisition candidate in the first place. That has been the case with Trailer/Body Builders for the past 10 years. It first happened when Tunnell Publications — the family-owned company that started Trailer/Body Builders almost 50 years ago — was acquired by Primedia Magazines & Media.

It happened again when Primedia bundled up its portfolio of business publications and sold it to a private equity group a year ago. Primedia Business Magazines & Media became Prism Business Media. The biggest impact on you, our reader, was the need for you to type in a new domain name — — if you wanted to e-mail us.

Most recently, Prism Business Media was the party that did the acquiring. In a transaction announced February 1, the company acquired Penton Media, a Cleveland-based publisher, trade show management company, and electronic media firm. The result is one of the largest companies of its type in the country, with 113 trade magazines, 145 Web sites, 96 industry trade shows and conferences, and more than 500 information data products.

In an interesting twist, the acquiring company (Prism Business Media) will take on the name of the company it acquired. While this probably does not happen very often, the logic in our case is straightforward. Our readers have had only a few months to learn and use the Prism name. By contrast, the Penton brand has been on business publications for more than a century.

With the merger agreement final, our corporate folks have been knitting two company infrastructures together. Some of what they are doing sounds a little like the work surgeons perform when they transplant organs and try to get all the blood vessels to match up.

Communication is our lifeblood, and we want to continue to be able to hear from you. While our faces are remaining the same after the merger (less normal wear and tear), our e-mail addresses will be changing again. If you want to reach any of us at Trailer/Body Builders, here's what you need to know:

  • As of March 15, our new company name will be Penton Media Inc.

  • New domain names for e-mail addresses are now in place. You can reach any of us at Trailer/Body Builders by typing our first name, our complete last name, separated by a period and followed by Example: [email protected]

  • On March 15, our domain name will be eliminated. If you receive e-mail from us, it will come from, so please don't think it's spam unless you thought our e-mail was spam.

  • Beginning March 15, anyone sending e-mail to the soon-to-be defunct address will receive an automated bounce-back message. The message will give the new address and ask you to resend the message using the new address. Unfortunately for both of us, your e-mails to us will not be redirected automatically to addresses as they did when we changed from to last year. And no, we don't have the name or e-mail address of the guy who decided that.

  • This automated bounce-back system will be in effect until September 15. After that time, there will be no provisions in our system for responding to email, and your e-mail will be lost in cyberspace.

So if you e-mail us or think you might, please make the change. We want to hear from you.

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