Dolan Media Company was formed in May 1992 by Jim Dolan and Cherry Tree Investments. Although he was by background an award-winning journalist and a lifelong "media guy" who once worked for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., at the time Dolan was a New York-based investment banker specializing in media transactions and financings. Cherry Tree wanted to invest in and build information-based businesses, and Dolan wanted to return to building and operating a media company.
Dolan and Cherry Tree had spent several years examining media investments together, rejecting half a dozen different opportunities across the country for various reasons. When daily business newspaper Finance and Commerce in Minneapolis became available, Dolan and Cherry Tree agreed this was a good foundation for the type of company they wished to build. (The paper's location in Minneapolis, near Cherry Tree, was a coincidence and played no role in the decision to buy Finance and Commerce.) Subsequently, the Company expanded by aggressively seeking and closing acquisitions, and by running the newspapers well after acquiring them.
In the early years the Company made many attempts to sell public records data but was frustrated and thwarted by the selling and technical challenges. Eventually we sorted things out and began to get them right. The acquisition of Minnesota Secured Transaction Reports in January 1995 brought us the first profits in this area of operations. (MSTR later was renamed U.S. Corporate Services.) From this start the Company developed a large and successful group of public records companies referred to internally as The National Group, which was sold in 2003 to the LexisNexis unit of Reed Elsevier plc.
Our Business Information Division has grown to become the nation's second largest publisher of law periodicals and the third largest publisher of local business journals. As an outgrowth of our strength in legal markets, more recently we began offering specialized services to the legal profession through our fast-growing Professional Services Division.
Because the Company in the past has required steady infusions of capital to sustain its rapid growth, it broadened the shareholder base through repeated sale of shares. It is a characteristic of the venture capital world that investors tend to move in groups. In 1992 through 1994, our investors all came from the Cherry Tree world of associated investors, including Winton Partners of Minneapolis and Ashford Capital of Wilmington, Delaware. From 1995 through 1998, we added investors from the Alex. Brown & Sons "circle" of investors, including Alex. Brown's own merchant banking group. Since 1998 we have added investors from a third "circle," that of John Backe and Ted Carroll and their BG Media Investors. In January 2000 we added another major investor from the Backe/Carroll "circle," Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec. The Caisse manages retirement funds for the public employees of the province of Quebéc and has enormous multi-billion-dollar resources. In 2004 we added a fourth "circle" with an investment from ABRY Mezzanine Partners of Boston, a large fund with $1.7 billion worth of media investments under management.
These investors committed their capital after carefully studying our strategic plans, reviewing our performance and management teams, and deciding that they, too, believed in what Dolan Media Company was all about. Their capital, as well as the talent and hard work of our employees, is responsible for our track record of successful growth.
On August 2, 2007, Dolan Media Company entered a new phase of investment and growth, as our stock began trading under the ticker symbol "DM" on the New York Stock Exchange. The initial public offering was priced at $14.50 per share, and was led by investment firms Goldman, Sachs, & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co.
In May 2010, stockholders approved a change of the company's corporate name to The Dolan Company. This change recognized the company's successful diversification strategy into high-growth, high-margin professional services categories. These sectors currently account for nearly 75% of the company's consolidated revenues.