Publican sold in £21m deal

By Alyson Fixter and Dominic Ponsford

The Publican, the weekly for the drinks industry, has been sold to United Advertising Publications for a cash deal of £21m.

The division of United Business Media has also bought sister titles
Flavour and Pub & Bar as part of the deal as well as The Official
Training Company and Quantum Data.

The deal is the first step in
the breakup of Croydon-based Quantum Business Media which also
publishes Media Week, Press Gazette , British Baker and Meat Trades
Journal .

QBM chief executive Neil Thackray said: “The
transaction represents a significant step in resolving the future for
our company. However, there are no imminent plans for any further
announcements.” The company is understood to have had expressions of
interest from several potential bidders for all or part of its
remaining assets.

A statement from UAP said: “In 2004 the business generated £6.8m of turnover and £2.2m of profit before tax.

“The proposed acquisition should be earnings enhancing in its first
twelve months and is expected to exceed UBM’s hurdle rate of return in
its first year.”

UAP’s existing titles include Dalton’s Weekly and Exchange & Mart.

Staff
involved with the titles will remain in Quantum’s Croydon HQ for the
next few months while premises are prepared for the move.

Publican rounds on Mail

24-HOUR DRINKING ROW

Meanwhile The Publican has urged the Daily Mail to stop its “Say No” to 24-hour drinking campaign.

The magazine claimed the Mail had misrepresented the issue of reforming the licensing laws.

In a leader comment it accused the Mail of publishing “scare stories”

about
24-hour drinking and said: “with the new regime a virtual certainty to
go ahead, and one of the country’s most vibrant economies turning its
back on the newspaper, we believe the Daily Mail will be forced to
reconsider its view”.

Daily Mail managing editor Charles Garside
responded: “A huge number of publicans have supported the Mail’s stance
on 24-hour opening. But our campaign is not aimed at the licensees.

It
was aimed at a Government ‘drunk with power’ determined to push through
this legislation without concern for widespread opposition and without
first testing their assumptions with a pilot scheme.

“The Daily Mail campaign has highlighted the concerns of many organisations and members of the public across the land.

” The Publican may well have its own agenda but we believe there are many in the licensed trade who share our concerns.

“A
survey by the Evening Standard only this week showed that four out of
five pubs in the London areas they visited reject the chance to stay
open all hours.”

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