So ends the saga of Emap (LSE: EMA), one of the biggest magazine companies to ever exist in UK. It has sold off its remaining division, the B2B media unit, to PE firm Apax and Guardian Media Group for 1 billion pounds ($2 billion), two weeks after it finalized the sale of its consumer magazine and radio operations. Emap was founded in 1947 as a newspaper company in East Midlands. The B2B unit organizes conferences and exhibitions and publishes magazines including Retail Week and Construction News.
FT: Apax is thought to want to merge many of the Emap titles with its Incisive Media business, while GMG has been keen to expand into the events and exhibitions side while also incorporating broadcast into their publishing side.
Bloomberg: The company in June completed the sale of a 49.9 percent stake in Trader Media Group to Apax, allowing Guardian Media to pursue acquisitions.
Reuters: This is below the 2.2-2.3 billion GBP analysts had recently estimated Emap might fetch. However, that was also before sharp declines across the UK media sector amid the credit market turmoil and concerns about a downturn in consumer spending and mixed signals over the outlook for the advertising industry.
More details in the release and acquisition offer document. (PDF link). It seems from the language that both Apax and Guardian intend to make more acquisition in the B2B media space, both in UK and internationally, to add to the existing Emap B2B portfolio (the joint temporary acquisition entity is called Eden Bidco). “In Apax and GMG, Emap will have two very supportive shareholders with a deep understanding of the UK and global media industry, an extensive network and the appetite and financial resources to further consolidate the business media industry both in the UK and internationally.”