'Business titles are not for sale,' insists Emap

Robin Miller

 

Emap has said it will not sell its business magazines following its decision to pull out of the US. Its failed £1bn US expansion plan also led to the departure of chief executive Kevin Hand.

A company spokesman confirmed the B2B magazines were not for sale. "It is a good business which has shown good levels of growth and underlying profitability," he said.

The move will come as a relief to staff who feared their jobs were at risk while Emap battled with a decline in advertising revenues in its US magazine arm, Petersen. The venture resulted in a £545m write-off, which has left the company with debts of £527m.

Emap is believed to have received bids for Petersen from US publishers such as AOL Time Warner, Primedia, American Media and Lagardere, which owns the US operation Hachette Filipacchi. Some of the bids are believed to have been as low as £275m.

Hand, who took over as chief executive in 1998 and led the £950m acquisition of Petersen two years ago, has been replaced by Emap chairman and former chief executive Robin Miller.

Adam Broadbent, chairman of the clothes retailer Arcadia Group and an Emap non-executive director, will take over from Miller. Tom Moloney, head of Emap USA, has been appointed group chief operating officer and is tipped to succeed Miller in 2003.

Tim Brooks, managing director of IPC’s Southbank group, welcomed the latest moves. "It is entirely the right thing to happen," he told Press Gazette. "Emap’s strategy is in tatters and it makes a lot of sense. A lot of people hero worship Robin so the fact that he is taking a step back will give morale a boost.

"Tom Moloney is emphatically the best manager they have got and he has been fighting an unwinnable battle."

By Ruth Addicott

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