United Business Media has confirmed it is in early-stage discussions with rival B2B group Informa about a potential merger.
In a statement to the stock exchange this morning, Informa confirmed it had received an approach from UBM, the owner of B2B publisher CMP Information.
“The board of Informa is considering the proposal and is in preliminary discussions with UBM,” the company said. “There can be no certainty that any transaction will take place.”
Responding to the statement, UBM said: “The board confirms that discussions, which are at an early stage, are taking place regarding the commercial merits of an all-share merger.
“Shareholders will be kept informed of developments and a further announcement will be made in due course.”
A merger of the two companies would create a B2B supergroup valued at more than £3bn, based on Friday’s share price before news of the merger talks was made public.
UBM has a market capitalisation of just under £1.5bn, and Informa is valued at about £1.65bn.
UBM’s business activities include the PR Newswire and CMP Medica, which publishes B2B health titles including Pulse and The Practitioner.
Its main publishing arm, CMP Information, is home to titles including Music Week, The Publican and Building.
Informa’s publications include maritime title Lloyd’s List, insurance journal The Review and Television Business Journal.
It also owns market research company Datamonitor, which it bought last month from its founder, Mike Danson, for £500m.
News of the merger talks sent shares in both companies rocketing this morning.
By 8.30am, Informa was up 12.6 per cent to 435p, and UBM shares rose 4.4 per cent to 632p.