Is a killer bid finally on its way for Marketing Week publisher Centaur Media?

Well it might be as seven per cent shareholder BlackRock, one of the giants of the global investment business, has just increased its stake from seven per cent to 12 per cent.

Centaur, publisher of Marketing Week, Design Week, Creative Review and The Lawyer is a minnow in publishing terms with a market cap of just £66m.

When the credit crunch struck in late 2008 and 2009 it looked as though the company might not survive as its classified ad revenues in particular were slaughtered by the onrushing recession before it had time to put in place a convincing digital strategy.

Shortly before this disaster struck it had rejected a bid from former Endemol (Big Brother) executive Peter Bazalgette.

The jury is still out on whether or not its digital offerings will ever approach what it used to make from print but stability seems to have been restored although the company, in quoted terms, remains resolutely small.

But in the above titles and others like Money Management it has a formidable line-up of brands. Now that long-time CEO and then chairman Graham Sherren has stepped down, to be replaced by money man Geoff Wilmot, the most likely option for the company is to go private. When it floated in 2004 the shares were priced too steeply and it has never made a success of the stock market since.

With the advertising market recovering it’s a snip at £66m plus a modest bid premium.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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