B2B titles face uncertain future in Emap shake-up

A dramatic shake-up in strategy and senior management is expected at Emap, as the company gears up to go it alone as a business to business publisher.

The B2B division is set to become the company’s only business following the £1.14bin sale, announced last week, of Emap’s radio and consumer magazine portfolios to German company Bauer.

Staff at the B2B business, Emap Communications, were ‘hugely surprised’by the decision to keep the portfolio, according to one Emap insider, who predicted that the company would look ‘very different’in a year’s time.

The source said: ‘The thing that worries staff is the people who got us into that mess in the first place are still here and are now running the entire company. If there will be significant change, it will be at senior management level.’

The Emap insider added: ‘Emap doesn’t consider itself a publishing company anymore – it considers itself an information company.

It has either closed or sold everything in the past five years that isn’t a weekly or an information business.”

Emap Communications’ most recent revenue figures for the six months to the end of September 2007 showed 43 per cent came of income from events, 32 per cent from magazines and 25 per cent from information.

Not attractive bids

Emap said the decision to call off the sale of its business-to-business division was prompted because the the bids put forward were not attractive enough.

Emap executive chairman Alun Cathcart is due to step down from the company once the sale to Bauer has been concluded.

Derek Carter, chief executive of Emap Communications, is to take over as chief executive of the company.

The proposed disposal is to be put to a shareholder vote in January.

Paul Richards, a media analyst for Numis Securities, told Press Gazette that in the six months since Emap announced its group review, B2B companies had suffered.

‘The share prices of Informa, UBM and Euromoney have been quite steeply derated in the last six months and are worth a good deal less than they were in May,’he said. ‘If Emap firmly believes in the long-term value, then now isn’t the right time to sell”

Richards said it was unlikely that the rumoured bidders for Emap’s B2B division would become hostile and attempt to stage a takeover, but he did not rule out Emap merging or being sold to another player in the next 12 to 24 months.

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