The takeover of the Builder Group will result in some job losses, but there is no immediate threat to journalists, its new owner said this week.
United Business Media acquired Aprovia UK, owner of the Builder Group and Barbour Index, for £79m.
The 260 staff and The Builder Group titles, dedicated to the UK construction and health and safety sectors, will be incorporated into UBM’s magazine division, CMPi, increasing its market share – estimated at £140m – by more than 30 per cent.
Bernard Gray, chief executive of CMPi, refused to rule out redundancies, but said there were no immediate plans to cut jobs affecting journalists.
“We have spent a lot of time over the past two years turning CMPi into a single company and we intend to put all our support functions – finance, IT and that sort of thing – together and operate one accounting system.
Sadly, in the business of that, it will probably mean some job losses. We don’t have any plans in that direction at the moment, but never say never.
He said there was little overlap between titles, apart from RIBA Journal and Building Design, which he said could work together because of their different frequencies.
The move ends months of uncertainty Group, who have been unsure about the future ever since it was acquired from Vivendi.
Sources say Emap, Reed and 3i were all in the frame at one stage, but UBM was determined to clinch the deal after a previous attempt to buy Barbour Index fell through in 1998.
“Reed was chasing us quite hard until the end. This is a long-held ambition for us,” Gray told Press Gazette.
The acquisition strengthens CMPi’s position as market leader in the UK construction and design market and follows its recent takeover of Property Media and The Interior Design Handbook.
Together, the three acquisitions amount to £83.25m and will contribute operating pro.ts of about £9m. CMPi’s Building Design covers the architects market, while the acquisition of Building will enable the company to widen its coverage of the whole construction industry.
Staff at the Builder Group will remain at their of.ces in London’s Docklands until space becomes free at UBM’s headquarters in Blackfriars when Richard Desmond departs in 18 months’ time.
CMPi has around 50 magazines, 20 directories and 35 exhibitions. The Builder Group publishes 15 titles, directories and runs a number of events.