Emap B2B bids 'weren't compelling'

Emap has defended its decision to call off the sale of its business-to-business division, claiming the bids put forward were not attractive enough.

Group finance director Ian Griffiths said the decision was “completely unanimous” and “wasn’t a hard decision to make”.

“There were offers for the B2B business on a standalone basis, but they weren’t compelling,” he told analysts this morning. “They were not appropriate offers for us to consider.

“This is a very good business and if we are going to sell it, there needs to be a premium.

“The board has made a decision. It wasn’t a hard decision to make. It was absolutely unanimous.”

Emap executive chairman Alun Cathcart said the strategic review had been “very successful” and the board had said all along that it was keeping all of its options open.

“Every single time we put a statement out and talked to the market, we told them that there was a real possibility that we would keep all or some of the businesses,” he said.

“Whether that message got through or not, I don’t know. We’ve been completely conistent.”

Cathcart said he would leave the company once the disposal is completed and the new structure is in place.

“I think what we’ve got now is the creation of the most successful B2B business in the stock market,” he said.

“The important thing for us now is to put a new team together and get on with it. It’s now time for me to go and do the other things I’m interested in and have a clean break from the company and a fresh start.”

Shares in Emap fell sharply this morning but are now beginning to recover. At 9am, Emap’s share price was 747.5p – a slump of 9.3 per cent on yesterday’s closing price of 825p.

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