Progress Partners

Investment Banking

Progress Partners is a boutique investment firm based in Boston and New York City providing financial advisory services to companies in media, marketing, advertising, and software.

Spotlight: Fox Forges Future

The much-discussed potential sale of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox assets – even if it never happens – shows the media industry is changing fast, says FTI Consulting’s senior advisor. Read the entire article by Progress Partners EIR, Mary Ann Halford.

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Progress Connect 2017 in "One Word" (Video)

The partners at Progress were asked what came to mind when thinking about Progress Connect, providing what they believed the best word was to describe this leadership summit. Part of a series of videos taken for Progress Connect. To find more, visit our YouTube channel.

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Progress Connect 2017 Recap Reel (Video)

On October 11th, Progress Connect welcomed over 300 participants, including 40+ founders, 50+ speakers, and 60+ CEOs, to Boston for a one-day summit about data, transparency, and the future of media. Check our our sizzle reel from the day of networking, discussions, and keynote speakers.

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Progress Connect 2017 "It's All Future" (Video)

What were some of the key undercurrents that ran throughout Progress Connect 2017? The answer happened to be more of a question: what comes next? Part of a series of videos taken for Progress Connect. To find more, visit our YouTube channel.

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A Banker's View: Hearst Buys Rodale

Chris Legg is a partner and Senior Managing Director at Progress Partners. Chris lives in Cambridge, MA, and is based in Boston.


Coming into the fourth quarter, we’ve seen some impactful transactions in traditional publishing and print magazines that are closing out the year. The Hearst-Rodale acquisition, feels both relevant and timely as it relates to the current and future state of our media industry.  

Hearst has agreed to acquire Rodale (family-owned publisher of Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Runner’s World) for a reported amount of $225 million, expecting to close early in the new year. With Meredith Corp. and America Media Inc. among the reported interested parties, we continue to see a momentum towards consolidation in the magazine and print industry – particularly as we develop new formats for the consumption of all forms of content. 

As the magazine industry experiences challenges in maintaining circulation and print advertising / newsstand revenue, consolidation of notable titles continues to be a trend – especially among mid-tier publishers. We’ve seen this through acquisitions like America Media Inc. acquiring US Weekly and Men’s Journal from Wenner Media, the same company looking to sell their majority stake in Rolling Stone.

Rodale’s decline in viewers, ads, and sales is reflected in the reported deal amount, approximately 1X gross revenue. Why is a smart move for both parties? This transaction will up Hearst’s position in the licensing industry (Hearst currently posts $350 million in licensed retail sales, Rodale $155 million) and provides a great home for Rodale. Given Rodale’s focus in the health and wellness publications category, their titles will open Hearst’s client base as they diversify into more demographics, attracting the Rodale client base while at the same time giving Hearst the tools to continue to nurture their strong existing partnerships with other behemoth networks. This strategically sets them up to perform well in the trend of consumption through multiple platforms with a wide array of quality content and expands their library.

Hearst continues the expansion of its global portfolio with Rodale’s established presence in the UK, Netherlands, and Japan, particularly in digital formats. Their existing partnership in these markets has yielded very positive results in response to content. Rodale has struggled in the past to balance its print and digital businesses, which Hearst will address with its proven reach and experience. 

As we see more acquisitions roll up and consolidate the traditional media space, the larger platforms have the tools to push the content and technology to react quickly to how the consumer digests content on their multiple devices. 

This is a smart move for both parties – we expect to see more consolidation as technology changes the distribution and only those who have access to these tools will survive.

To learn more or if you have questions, send an email to or

Progress Connect 2017 "Why this Event?" (Video)

On October 11, 2017, over 300+ C-level and senior leaders from some of the top Media and Internet technology companies in the industry gathered together for one day. Check out the introductory video from our event for a deeper understanding of our firm, partners, and summit.

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Progress Scouting Report: Dmexco 2017

Data is the world’s “new” hot commodity, and every year we meet companies in Cologne who are transforming both user experiences and marketing effectiveness by using this resource more effectively than ever before. Dmexco brings industry players and rising stars alike to the forefront – enabling innovators across the spectrum to put their progress on display for the rest of the market and give onlookers a glimpse of things to come.

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Progress Partners' IndustryMaps Highlighted in Digiday's "Oral History of the LUMAscape"

Progress Partners founder Nick MacShane and Davis Rosborough (VP, Progress Partners and Co-founder, IndustryMaps) made their way into the oral history of LUMA Partner's LUMAscapes. Through early work on industry and sector mapping, Davis' IndustryMaps have developed significantly and have come a long way, just as LUMAscapes have. Here is the story of how the Lumascape came to be, from some of those who helped popularize it.

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Davis Rosborough Featured in Digiday Article "Internet Mysteries: Why do ad tech companies rarely die?"

Although 5,000 ad tech companies exist today, the industry is full of dead men walking. Unlike other tech industries, struggling ad tech companies rarely die swiftly, even if they’re not on the path to growth. Davis Rosborough, VP at Progress Partners, provides his take on why some ad tech companies become "zombies."

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Axial's "Dealmaker Profile" Features Interview with Progress Partners Founder Nick MacShane

In Axial's series "Dealmaker Profiles," Progress Partners founder and senior managing director Nick MacShane was featured, discussing the challenges of founding a company, supercharging the firm's biz dev strategy, and what he likes to do in his spare time.

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Nick MacShane Featured in Digiday Article on Moat and "the Ad Tech Pivot"

"Fresh off an $850 million acquisition by Yahoo, Right Media CEO Michael Walrath and board members Noah and Jonah Goodhart thought their next big ad tech venture was a crowdsourced marketplace meant to connect ad creators with brands. Despite their respect in the ad industry and connections to the largest investors in Silicon Valley and some of media’s biggest, the group’s initial product floundered."

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Progress Connect Dinner Series: There’s Brand Safety In Numbers

The adtech industry has found itself confronted with a rapidly growing challenge affecting all parties, including the average American household. The importance of Brand Safety as a topic has transformed into a movement to address current issues like the lack of transparency in advertising inventory and the proliferation of fake news on the web.

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Progress Perspective: Cannes Lions 2017

Chris Legg shares his top takeaways and retrospective from his week at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, highlighting big announcements from Comcast and Oath, the 5th Annual Mastercard LeRooftop Panel, and our co-hosted yacht party to kick off the week.

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Progress Scouting Report: NAB 2017

The National Association of Broadcasters hosted their annual NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center last month, attracting over 100,000 attendees for this year’s “The M.E.T. Effect” in mind: Media, Entertainment, and Technology.

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Davis Rosborough Interviewed for Axial's Forum on Growth Strategy: Debt or Equity?

If your business is considering raising capital, one of the first questions to consider is whether to seek equity, debt, or a combination. In May 2017, Axial asked four investment bankers, including our own Davis Rosborough (VP, Progress Partners), to share their thoughts on the most important factor CEOs and CFOs should consider when making this decision.

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Progress Perspective: The Announcement of Open AP

With the recent announcement of Open AP, many are asking who will follow. Fox Networks Group, Turner, and Viacom have all teamed up to create a new advanced audience platform specific to television, the industry’s first open platform for cross-publisher audience targeting and independent measurement. 

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Davis Rosborough's Interview at Tru Optik's 2017 INFronts Lounge

Davis Rosborough (Vice President of Progress Partners) takes a look into the future: discovery and relevance are more important to the user than the delivery mode. The audience will increasingly decide on their own what is premium content.

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Progress Scouting Report: Advanced Advertising Summit

Surrounded by senior-level executives and managers in the TV and Digital space, we heard from thought leaders and disruptors alike who addressed the continued evolution of advanced TV advertising during this Spring’s Advanced Advertising Summit, presented by B&C, Multichannel News, and NewBay Media at New York City’s Convene Conference Center.

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Progress Scouting Report: Shoptalk 2017

Industry leaders and disruptors convened in Las Vegas for March 2017’s Shoptalk conference, one of the most important for retail and ecommerce. The event hosted thousands of retailers, brands, consultants, and analysts to discuss the incredible change that is taking place in retail and ecommerce. 

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Progress Scouting Report: Mobile World Congress

GSMA hosted its annual Mobile World Congress in the week from February 27th – March 2nd 2017. The conference was held at the Fira Gran Via and the Fira Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain and featured all the newest technology in the mobile space. Over 108,000 people attended the event, all interested in learning and discussing where the future of mobile is headed. 

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