Five Legged Stool LLC of Little Rock, a digital marketing and media company whose publications include Arkansas Business, announced Monday that it has purchased Scott Publishing LLC of Fort Worth, Texas, publisher of 360 West and related titles.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The companies finalized the acquisition, which includes all Scott Publishing magazines and ancillary marketing products, on Friday.
The owners of both companies — Mitch Bettis of Five Legged Stool and Jerry Scott of Scott Publishing — announced the deal to their respective staffs in separate meetings on Monday.
"360 West, its employees and its publications are so good, and we are excited to be a part of these products and the Tarrant County community," Bettis said. "Distinctive content and impactful marketing solutions are always in high demand, and that's why each of 360 West products have been so successful."
Scott founded his company in 2009. Its flagship publication, 360 West, is a monthly lifestyle magazine targeting affluent readers in greater Tarrant County to the west of Highway 360, which separates Tarrant and Dallas counties. Scott Publishing also produces 76107 Magazine, 76092 Magazine and the quarterly 817 HOME magazine. And it offers digital marketing services and custom publishing.
Five Legged Stool will continue to produce Scott Publishing's titles and introduce new products, events and marketing campaigns into the Fort Worth market, Bettis said.
Five Legged Stool owns Arkansas Business Publishing Group of Little Rock, which employs 65 people in Little Rock and working remotely in Austin and Houston, Texas; London, England; and Memphis.
The company's publications reach niche audiences with interests in business news; weddings and society; higher education and workforce development; family and aging; and travel. Titles include Arkansas Business, Little Rock Soirée, Little Rock Family, Next: A Guide to Life After High School, Arkansas Bride, Arkansas Caregiver Resource Guide, Greenhead: The Arkansas Duck Hunting Magazine and Venture: A Guide for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners.
ABPG also owns a digital marketing and web design firm, FLEX360.
"The talents of Mitch and his team will enhance and increase the rich content that our readers are accustomed to, and expand the number of offerings available to advertisers," Scott said. "I am confident that Five Legged Stool will be the perfect caretaker of our magazines and our employees."
The acquisition is Bettis' second in less than two years. In February 2019, he purchased ABPG from a limited partnership led by Olivia Myers Farrell. Farrell founded ABPG in 1995, but its roots go back to 1984 and the founding of Arkansas Business as part of the Arkansas Writers Project. Farrell, who was CEO of the ABPG, retired after the sale.
The companies said Scott will continue to work at Scott Publishing through the leadership transition. Meanwhile, Bettis has hired Gloria Fletcher to lead the expansion at 360West for Five Legged Stool.
Fletcher most recently worked for Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Media Group as vice president of the company’s Southern Division and president and publisher of the Tulsa World newspaper.
Bettis joined ABPG in 2013 as general manager and publisher of Arkansas Business. Before that, he was regional publisher for GateHouse Media of Fairport, New York. In that role, he oversaw GateHouse's print and digital products in 10 communities in Arkansas and northern Louisiana, including the publishing, editorial and sales efforts of more than 100 employees.
In 2014, Bettis was promoted to ABPG president. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its digital publishing and marketing businesses, launched new live events and grown Arkansas Business' paid circulation to an all-time high. In 2019, the company logged its sixth consecutive year of record revenue or profit.
Five Legged Stool is named for the company's operating philosophy, based on serving five key stakeholders: readers, advertisers, employees, vendors and investors.