Informa buys PJB Publications for £120m

Informa Group has acquired independently owned specialist magazine publisher PJB Publications for £120m.

The move involves 240 staff and a number of pharmaceutical, agrochemical and biotechnology titles, including the pharmaceutical market’s leading biweekly newsletter, Scrip, Clinica World Medical Device and Diagnostic News, as well as the electronic database business pharmaprojects, which tracks the development of new drugs.

Informa chief executive David Gilbertson said staff at PJB would remain at their Surrey offices and there would be no job losses. The deal also involves 25 staff at an office in New York. He said the titles were an “excellent fit” with Informa’s existing portfolio, particularly Bio Process International and BioTechniques, and insisted there was no overlap.

PJB was founded by former Daily Express journalist Philip Brown, who bought Scrip for £2,000 in 1976. He decided to sell because of advances in specialist publishing. He will remain a consultant.

Informa said the acquisition would strengthen its life sciences portfolio and help to accelerate product development.

Gilbertson said it would have no impact on Informa’s existing staff, particularly on the transport and maritime titles, which faced a spate of job losses last month due to cutbacks.

He said: “It is a whole different part of the business. Informa operates in six different sectors and we group our businesses according to the markets they serve. What has been taking place in the maritime division has not got any bearing at all.”

Gilbertson said the health of the maritime sector was improving, and he did not envisage any more cuts.

“The general health of the maritime business is improving so it should have a beneficial effect on our titles next year,” he added.

By Ruth Addicott

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