Emap Buys Online Construction Publisher For $40 Million, May Sell Some TV Channels

U.K. magazine publisher Emap has acquired Torcello Publishing, which publishes the online-only Infrastructure Journal, for GBP 20 ($40) million as it looks to ramp up its portfolio of construction titles. That portfolio already includes such exciting names as Construction News, Ground Engineering and New Civil Engineer. Infrastructure Journal ceased trading in print some years ago. In strategic terms, this buy looks similar to Future Publishing’s acquisition last week of Cycling News for $4.4 million. Future is looking to aggregate its various offline strengths as single brands – they’ve done it for gaming, now they want to do it for bicycles, making BikeRadar.com out of its four cycling magazines plus the new buy. Emap is now doing the same, this time in construction. Infrastructure Journal has 16,500 subscribers, 70 percent of them non-UK. (Via Guardian and Release).

— Emap is also considering selling half of its digital television channels to Channel 4 for some GBP 30 ($60) million, FT reports. While the group boasts some eight different music video stations (FHM, Kerrang!, Kiss 10, Magic, Q, Smash Hits, The Box, The Hits) on multichannel platforms, a company looking to free resources for digital investment may see sufficient overlap to kill a few – some are no longer even allied with any active Emap magazine of radio brands. The deal would give Channel 4 another channel slot on Freeview at a time when it is seeking more narrowcast launches – if it retains the music element, it could build a digital music channel around its own 4Music strand.

— In a full-year trading update, Emap yesterday announced an eight percent dip in consumer magazine revenue and a 13 percent dip in advertising revenue. In May, it announced accelerated digital growth with up to GBP 200 ($394) investment by 2010. To do that, it is making cost savings – it this week sold its French exhibitions unit Agor for EUR 85 ($117) million, is on track to dispose of its Irish radio business and is cutting some staff. It has been the subject of break-up speculation.