World Tea Media Acquired by F+W Media


F+W Media

World Tea Media was acquired last week by F+W Media, Inc. a century old community-focused content creator and marketer of products and services for professionals and enthusiasts.

The publishing firm serves 20 different communities and produces 11 trade/conference events and 10 public/enthusiast events.

"We’re thrilled to join F+W Media,” said World Tea Media Founder George Jage, now the director of World Tea Media, a division of F+W Media. The acquisition is a perfect fit for our events, valued exhibitors, customers and the tea trade at large, said Jage. "We always knew we would grow World Tea Media, World Tea Expo and its related assets to a point where more resources would be needed to continue to evolve.

“Combining with F+W Media allows us to better serve the global tea community, as well as extend and enhance our range of products and services. With their resources and extensive knowledge, we’re looking forward to continued growth," he said.

"F+W Media will help us continue our longstanding history of quality and, at the same time, increase the momentum we’ve built for tea, the trade industry and our events,” said Kim Jage, now sales and marketing director, World Tea Media. “Together, we can further help the tea industry be profitable and boost the rise of tea,” she said.

Industry reaction was positive.

World Tea Expo has become an intrinsic part of the specialty tea industry, said Brian Keating, founder of Sage Group, a Seattle, Wash., tea industry publisher. "George and Kim's vision, creativity and perseverance has provided a vibrant, sustainable platform for the entire tea community to conduct vital trade. With an even stronger team going forward we all look to their continuing friendship, stewardship and dynamic support of all things tea. Knowing George, Kim and their team, the best is yet to come," he said.

“I have been so proud and thrilled over the past few years to have been involved in all the team's amazing work…I shall be there to help, watch, work and congratulate you as it all grows,” said British author, tea consultant and historian Jane Pettigrew.

AOI Tea Company Vice President Chieko Yamamoto described World Tea Media as "the catalyst and great contributors to the growth of the specialty tea industry in North America. Good luck with your next phase of your business."

World Tea Media produces World Tea Expo, World Tea East, the North American Tea Championship and World Tea News. The company's offices will remain in Las Vegas, Nev. under the direction of the existing executive management team and all current team members will continue with the company. The 2012 Expo – the 10th Anniversary Expo – will be held June 1-3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. 

The acquisition was completed on Jan. 3. Terms were not disclosed.

David Nussbaum, Chairman & CEO of F+W Media, praised World Tea Expo for achieving “global brand recognition within the industry.” The Expo is well respected as a key driving force behind the U.S. tea market growth, he said. “As a small company with customer service excellence as a core value, they boast a very significant and loyal customer base.”

In announcing the news, Nussbaum said “the acquisition plays a strategic role… our events business is growing exponentially with a number of new events being launched, increased revenues, and better event management by the team led by Cory Smith, Vice President, Events.”

“This was a very emotional decision for us, but in the end, we are extremely confident we have made the correct one,” said George Jage.

“After exploring all of our options, our decision to become part of the F+W Media family was based most importantly on the alignment of the vision of their company and ours – to create and deliver unparalleled quality content and to be an authentic and trusted voice of the niche communities in which they serve,” he said.

In the past decade World Tea Media has brought the tea industry its own dedicated trade shows, created a globally recognized competition to elevate the quality of tea consumed in North America, launched the leading trade publication for the industry, provided education to thousands of professionals and “served as arguably the most significant and prominent catalyst in the emergence of the specialty tea industry in North America,” said George Jage.

“In the months that follow, we will begin the process of expanding World Tea Media to fulfill many strategic plans, and new products and services we had hoped to bring to the industry for years.  This is very exciting,” he said.

U.S. tea sales increased to $6.5 billion in 2011 and represent an $87 billion global marketing opportunity.

Dan Bolton

About Dan Bolton

Dan Bolton edits STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International. He was formerly editor and publisher of World Tea News and former editor and publisher of Tea Magazine and former editor-in-chief of Specialty Coffee Retailer. He is a beverage retail consultant and frequent speaker at industry seminars and conferences. His work has appeared in many beverage publications. He was a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years prior to his career in magazines. Dan is the founding editor of Natural Food magazine and has led six publishing ventures since 1995. He lives in Winnipeg, Canada.