Blog Post

UBM Boost Online PR Business With $10 Million Virtual Press Office Acquisition

United Business Media (LSE: UBM) is moving further into the online PR sector with a $10 million (£6.17 million) acquisition of New Jersey-based Virtual Press Office. The deal comprises a $6.5 million up front payment, with the rest payable over the next three years depending on performance.

It’s a snug fit with UBM’s PR Newswire business and VPO will be integrated into PRN’s Global Events platform. VPO runs PR news distribution services for more than 500 tradeshows, so there are obvious synergies to leverage VPO’s distribution service to promote UBM’s own events. VPO’s co-founders Peter Brand and Tom Cherry are to join PRN; UBM says VPO will generate revenues of $2.2 million (£1.35 million) this year.

Tradeshows are becoming ever more important for UBM, as it moves to reduce its exposure to the anemic print B2B market. PRN is a major player in the US market, but will benefit from VPO’s footprints in Europe and Asia.

Meanwhile, in the UK UBM is shutting its bar and restaurant B2B title Theme, less than five years after buying it for £5 million. The company decided the title was “no longer commercially viable”. UBM has said it will move towards a smaller portfolio of print magazines while it invests in its profitable events division and online publishing activities. Via PG.