Weller eyes up CMPi as Hollick leaves UBM

Tim Weller, chief executive of Incisive Media, expressed renewed interest in buying CMPi this week, as Lord Hollick announced his retirement from United Business Media and speculation mounted about a possible break up of the group.

Weller: looking for acquisitions

CMPi is the business and professional publishing arm of UBM, and Weller said he would be certain to make a bid if Hollick’s successor decided to dispose of the business.

Speaking as Incisive posted a 50 per cent increase in revenue in its interim results this week, Weller said the company was keen to break into new markets through acquisitions.

Commenting on Hollick’s departure next May and speculation that chief operating officer Malcolm Wall is a hot favourite to take over, Weller said: “It may mean a strategic review and it may mean that whoever goes in looks at their portfolio and stuff comes out.”

Asked if he was still interested in the company, he said: “Absolutely.

United is a pretty good business – it is brand leading.

“We are interested in good quality assets that lead in their markets. We are not frightened of doing scaling deals, and not frightened of doing big deals.”

Incisive acquired Initiative Europe for £16m in April and bought the Risk Waters group for £35.2m in May 2003.

Weller said he hoped to expand in service-driven markets – such as marketing services, legal services and healthcare.

“What we want to do is make sure the market knows that we are an aggressive acquirer of good quality assets and if businesses are put up for sale they know about us and they come to us,” he told Press Gazette.

Weller said Incisive’s growth had been fuelled by advertising which was up by about 10 per cent with Risk, Investment Week, Post and Mortgage Solutions performing particularly well.

“Last year was a pretty tough year for all of us but the outlook is very good, the visibility in advertising, subscription and event revenues is stronger than I have known it in about three years.

“We are comfortable that we will hit the top end of market expectations,” he said.

Incisive launched a new graduate recruitment programme last week, taking on five trainee journalists.

The company is also gearing up to launch three new titles – two financial monthly magazines in October – one of which is called Structure Products, while a pan European title is planned in the first half of next year.

Incisive is currently recruiting staff to work on both launches.

Ruth Addicott

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