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The Independent Online
United News & Media, the television to newspapers combine created by Labour peer Lord Hollick in late 1995, has stormed ahead since its inception with shares up from just over 500p to 672p. But now the surge has petered out.

There has been hype aplenty around digital terrestrial broadcasting but UNM has failed to make an impact in that arena. The chances of it being able to enter the new media race are beginning to fade.

It seems there is little to show by way of cross-fertilisation from the old MAI joining up with United Newspapers. The hoped-for cross-selling, and greater financial clout to challenge the likes of Rupert Murdoch have yet to materialise. Despite more aggressive management and promotion, its main national title - the new, seven-day Express - although profitable, faces a huge slog to catch its rival the Daily Mail.

So far UNM has lost out on the rights to Premier League football and terrestrial digital TV. Its only stake in the media revolution is a slice of the Channel 5 licence, but that could prove a lame duck. It is also believed the company is ready to exit its regional newspapers business, despite the cashflow attractions.

Fans are hoping UNM can still pull off a knock-out punch in television, but it looks to be running out of opportunities. Unless Lord Hollick can come up with something soon, it may miss the boat. Time, perhaps, to start taking some profits. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

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