Slightly down is the new up in the media world: United Business Media (LSE: UBM) CEO David Levin (pictured) declared himself “satisfied” with reduced H109 net profits of £48 million ($79.1 million) — down £12.5 million year on year — and revenues down £10.6 million to £435 million ($717.2 million), joining countless other media bosses in hoping for just small losses while the recession plays out. And despite the cautious outlook, the London-listed company is still active in the M&A market: on Friday, it announced the acquisition of US software-platform developer The Fuel Team in a deal worth $2.5 million in cash, but it could could reach $7 million (£4.24 million) over three years with earn-out clauses. Release
— Fuel Team buy The Colorado-based company will be integrated into UBM’s PR Newswire business — it already provides the software for Newswires’ Mediaroom news distribution service, as well as microsites for Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS), Siemens and Bank of America. It brings UBM’s M&A spend in July alone to £17.1 million ($28.3 million) following the purchase of RISI and Iasist. Release.
— Online boost: UBM’s data, services and online operations grew by £15.2 million to £126.6 million, although that’s a 9.9 percent decline at constant currency rates, and online profits fell £1.5 million to £16 million. Online now accounts for 29 percent of total revenue compared to six percent five years ago.
— H109 earnings: The company’s prediction that earnings would be in line with its own modest expectations turned out to be right. The company is putting its faith in investment in online news and data and growth in emerging markets, particularly the BRIC countries, where it has launched several magazines, websites and events; new economies now account for 10 percent of total revenue. An interim dividend rose 7.1 percent to 6p, beating analyst predictions. Levin tells Reuters.com: “We’re not quite at the point of saying there are great green shoots but… we’re less down than we anticipated and less down than our shows early in the year.”
— Print shrinks, cuts in headcount : UBM is another media company in the midst of shrinking to meet falling advertising and event demand: it shed 350 staff in the first half and shut 15 print titles. Print revenue fell from £111 million in H108 to £86.3 million, while profit from mags was just £3.3 million, compared to a £13.8 million profit last year. Events revenue fell £11.2 million year on year to £137.2 million