'Strong interest' in Reed Business Information

Reed Elsevier has received “strong interest” in its B2B magazine division, Reed Business Information, and expects the sale to be completed by the end of the year.

Announcing its results this morning, the company said RBI “performed well” in the first half of 2008, with rapid growth online compensating for declines in print revenue.

Revenue at RBI in the UK rose six per cent from £144m to £153m, although the publisher said certain sectors – such as technology and property – had been weak.

UK online revenue grew by 16 per cent, fuelled by strong trading at RBI’s recruitment site TotalJobs.com. Online revenues now make up a third of RBI’s total revenues.

Overall operating profit at RBI – which also has businesses in the US and the Netherlands – was up 13 per cent to £62m.

“The outlook is positive,” the company said. “RBI is seeing no significant overall shift in market trends. Given the uncertain economic outlook, RBI remains vigilant.”

Reed Elsevier announced in February that it was looking to dispose of RBI, which publishes titles including New Scientist and Computer Weekly.

It said the B2B magazines division no longer fitted in with the rest of the company, because it was still heavily reliant on advertising.

“The divestment of RBI is a further major step in our portfolio development – reducing exposure to advertising revenues which fit less well with the subscription-based focus of Reed Elsevier’s strategy,” the company said today.

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