B2B Consolidation: Informa and UBM In Early Merger Talks; Would Create $6 Billion Giant

Future of Business Media: The ConferenceUnited Business Media and Informa, two of the biggest B2B media companies, are in talks for a merger, the two companies said over the weekend after news of the talks leaked. There is no certainty the deal will happen at this stage. Informa has a market value of 1.64 billion pounds ($3.2 billion), while UBM has a market value of 1.48 billion pounds.

The two UK-based companies have been buying and rolling up smaller companies over the years, in the exhibitions, online distribution and business-information units, as their print revenues have been declining. Informa publishes more than 2,000 titles and organizes more than 10,000 conferences annually..it bought market research firm Datamonitor, and also runs the big Mobile World Congress (fka 3GSM) conference, among others. UBM used to own CMP, which was recently broken down into five subsidiary companies…it also owns PRNewswire. It employs more than 5,000 staff in 30 different countries. It produces more than 200 magazines, newspapers and directories, including Property Week, and runs more than 200 websites and 300 events.

Reuters: Any deal could face competition from private equity groups rumoured to have been circling Informa. The group’s shares have risen in recent weeks on rumours that firms including Apax Partners and Carlyle Group have been considering bids.

Telegraph, who broke the story, said that if the combination does happen, Peter Rigby, Informa’s CEO, could be made chairman, with David Levin, who runs UBM, becoming CEO of the enlarged company.

For Levin, this would be his biggest deal since he joined UBM in early 2005…he has remade the company structure since then, disposing off many non-core properties (it once owned the Daily Express and chunks of the ITV (LSE: ITV) network in UK), and buying up smaller B2B companies over the last two years.

Pic: David Levin, who spoke at our FOBM conference last year.