HRM Asia is a specialist human-resources events and media company headquartered in Singapore. Arowana acquired HRM Asia as part of its broader acquisition of the KeyMedia Asia Pacific group in 2008 and sold it in 2014 to the US-headquartered Diversified Communications. During Arowana’s ownership, HRM Asia became the leader in its field in the Southeast Asia region and more than doubled its revenue and profits.
When HRM Asia was first acquired, it was a niche publishing-centred business, focused on delivering content to human-resources professionals in Singapore and broader Southeast Asia. It was a segment of the KeyMedia Asia Pacific group, of which Arowana had acquired 60% from its founders. The KeyMedia Asia Pacific group also had a legal events and publishing business that was scaled up by Arowana and bought by Thomson Reuters in March 2011. Following that sale, we led a strategic review of the residual HR business, resulting in a name change from KeyMedia HR to HRM Asia and a strategic pivot that led to a heightened focus on events and the development of a digital media platform. In early 2013, Arowana acquired the remaining 40% of HRM Asia from its original founders.
With HRM Asia’s longstanding Managing Director resigning suddenly in late 2013, we parachuted in an Arowana executive to act as interim Managing Director with a remit to steady the ship, drive execution of the strategy and groom a new leader for the company. As a direct result, HRM Asia saw its first sell-out HR Summit in Singapore in 2014 and achieved record revenues and profits.
In addition, the Arowana executive in place also coached HRM Asia’s Financial Controller, resulting in her promotion to Executive General Manager of the HRM Asia business. In the ensuing year, HRM Asia enhanced its brand awareness and reputation into new markets in the region including Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Philippines, setting the stage for future growth.
In 2014, HRM Asia was acquired by Diversified Communications. Through operational engineering and without the use of financial leverage, HRM Asia delivered a 2.5x return on investment for Arowana.