View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Archive content
September 4, 2008

Informa gazundered by private equity as locust speculators grow restive

By Peter Kirwan MM blog

Informa has gotten itself into a right old mess.

First a potential merger with United Business Media collapsed. This happened because private equity came lumbering over the hill with an apparently unbeatable offer.

Now, it seems, that unbeatable offer has been revised. Instead of the rumoured 500p-per-share, a consortium led by Providence Equity Partners has offered 440p-450p.

The story comes from City AM, and you can read it here.

Why is this relevant to anyone? Well, predictably, it has led at least one analyst to recommend that Informa reject the offer — and sell itself off piecemeal to a selection of bidders.

This would effectively be a repeat of what happened to EMAP. Only in this case, Panmure Gordon suggests — helpfully — that a break-up would be less complicated and more attractive. (You’ll find the Panmure note quoted on FT Alphaville’s Market Live session this morning: here.)

A break-up certainly would be attractive for speculators who bought Informa at somewhere approaching 500p.

Content from our partners
Slow online ads cost UK publishers £50m a year: Here's how to fix them
Mather Economics and InsurAds combine to help publishers boost revenue
Press Gazette publishes ultimate guide to reader conversion and monetisation

The locusts face a rough ride down to 350p if Informa returns to minding its own business.

But no-one else would benefit from the dislocation and uncertainty involved in a long drawn-out break-up. Fundamentally, there’s nothing wrong with Informa.

The only mistake the company made was setting itself up as a target for the City’s locusts when news of its talks with UBM leaked.

Two broken deals later, the insects are growing impatient. In search of sustenance, they now want to rip apart their host.

PS: City AM describes Informa as “the PR Week publisher”. Last time we looked, that august organ was owned by Lord Heseltine, who takes a dim view of the one-dimensional financial engineering that threatens to overwhelm Informa.

Topics in this article : ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network