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Emap sells its last remaining unit to Guardian Media Group, Apax

4 January, 2008:

Emap has sold its business-to-business unit to the Guardian Media Group and private equity firm Apax for £1 billion ($1.98 billion).

The operations of Emap Ė one of the biggest media conglomerates in the United Kingdom with a 60-year publishing history Ė comprised gossip magazines, radio stations, and trade exhibitions.

The business-to-business sector was Emapís last remaining unit.

Media reports quoted Alun Cathcart, Emapís chairman, as saying that the new bid represented a premium of about 60%.

Emapís business-to-business arm includes trade magazines such as Broadcast and Retail Week as well as events such as the World Retail Congress.

The company started off as publisher of a regional newspaper titled East Midland Allied Press in 1947 and later built a magazine empire from its first title, Angling Times.

In 1978, Emap launched Smash Hits, its first big consumer title. Six years later, it started an exhibition arm and a business division.

Many analysts say that Emap revolutionised the market for menís titles with the acquisition in 1994 of For Him Magazine, which was converted into FHM.

Though Emap sold its newspaper division and print division in 1996, it continued to expand its sectors such as magazine, business-to-business, and radio.

By the time the companyís decline began, it had become the leading trade exhibition organiser, the second largest consumer magazine publisher and the second biggest commercial radio group in the United Kingdom.

Emap found it hard to survive the changing advertising markets, with huge amounts of spending on advertisements getting shifted from print and radio to internet.

Emap had already sold its consumer magazines and radio, including FHM, Grazia and the Magic music station, to the German publisher Bauer for £1.14 billion.

As for the Guardian Media Group, buying Emapís remaining assets would mean diversifying into less consumer-oriented media. The Guardian Media Group, which owns radio stations, national and regional newspapers, also has a majority stake in Trader Media Group, publisher of Auto Trader.

The private equity firm Apax already owns the business information group, Incisive Media, whose titles include Legal Week and Investment Week.

Industry analysts speculate that the Guardian Media Group and Apax will initially run the newly acquired businesses of Emap as one unit. 





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