UBM leads UK magazine deal frenzy, Centaur to follow?

United Business Media, the trade publisher and owner of PR Newswire has agreed to buy US-based Canon Communications, a similar company, for $287m. Canon has a big trade show business alongside its magazines and UBM says it is particularly attracted by its offerings in the ‘medical devices’ market which it views as a growth sector, particularly in Asia Pacific.

Under CEO David Levin UBM has demonstrated a formidable appetite for acquisitions and the company says it’s still looking for more after the Canon deal is completed.

Smaller rival Centaur has said it too is looking for acquisitions after revealing a rise in profits to £2.6m in the year to end June, benefiting from rapidly rising print advertising revenues after a torrid couple of years.

Centaur itself is thought to be a bid target for bigger companies in the sector. Last year it rejected a bid from Critical information Group, a new company led former Informa executives.

With a strong stable of business brands including Marketing Week, Money Marketing and The Lawyer Centaur’s profits should rise rapidly if the advertising recovery described by CEO Geoff Wilmot is sustained.

With sales of just £59m Centaur needs to get bigger rapidly if it is to avoid becoming a tasty morsel for one of its larger rivals.

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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.