United Business Media takes £19m hit on The Publican

United Business Media has sold one of its largest business-to-business titles, The Publican, at a loss of £19m.

The Publican: sold to William Reed Publishing for £1.65m
The Publican: sold to William Reed Publishing for £1.65m

The sale of the leading B2B title to rival William Reed Publishing achieved £1.65m. UBM bought the title for £21m in 2005 from Croydon-based publisher Quantum, which was then broken up and closed.

UBM acquired sister titles Flavour, Pub & Bar, The Official Training Company and Quantum Data, and Media Week was sold to Haymarket Publishing as part of the sell off.

William Reed, in a statement, said: "The William Reed Group has agreed to acquire the UK licensed trade portfolio of UBM's Connect division. The transaction is expected to complete by the end of March, subject to the conclusion of a staff consultation process.

"The portfolio – which comprises The Publican print magazine title, websites and awards event, together with the Theme and Bar Show brands – will augment our existing portfolio serving the licensed trade sector."

UBM, while announcing its results today (1 March), said it had also sold another concern, its French medical newspaper business, for £8.8m.

In the results for 2010 UBM recorded "headline" revenue growth of 4.9%, with underlying revenue growth of 5.6%.

However, the publisher, with a portfolio of business titles including trade magazine Building and medical magazine Pulse, recorded a broadly flat operating profit of £171.8m "reflecting higher investment in new product development, sales and IT."

David Levin, UBM's chief executive officer, said: "We are investing in our people, our products and services. Initial trading in 2011 is encouraging and we are cautiously optimistic about our results for the full year."

UBM generated revenue of £889.2m last year, despite a 13.1% decline in print revenue to £144.1m. The publisher closed 13 business print titles during 2010.

The Publican deal consists of a cash payment of £1.5m and a deferred performance-related consideration of up to £150,000, and 14 staff will now transfer to William Reed's headquarters near Crawley, Surrey.

William Reed already owns competitor licensed trade title, The Morning Advertiser.

UBM has also announced it has bought a 60% stake in Famdent, India's largest dental exhibition and conference business. It has also acquired India's largest travel tradeshow, Satte.

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