Informa pays pounds 28m cash for 13 business magazines from Emap

EMAP, the magazine publisher and radio broadcaster, yesterday raised its proceeds from disposals in recent months to pounds 85m with the sale of 13 business magazines for pounds 28m in cash to Informa Group, the business publisher whose titles include Lloyd's List, the daily insurance and shipping newspaper.

The titles being acquired by Informa range from monthly business magazines Insurance Age and Containerisation International to weekly publications International Freighting Weekly and Fishing News. The acquisition, expected to be earnings-enhancing in the first full year, includes seven related exhibitions and events.

"The Emap titles are a good complement to our existing portfolio," said David Gilbertson, Informa's chief executive. "They will fit well into the areas we serve, without duplicating anything."

The acquisition also includes Liner Shipping Network, an electronic information service distributed to subscribers over the Internet. It provides time- critical news and information about international container vessels and the freight industry.

In the year to March the acquired businesses generated pounds 2.8m in operating profit before attributed overheads, on sales of pounds 12.5m. The net assets being sold total pounds 200,000.

"As we focus the group on specific and larger markets with potential for growth, we are rationalising the portfolio of our media businesses," said Kevin Hand, Emap's chief executive.

In July, Emap said it would increase new product investment to pounds 30m, including pounds 10m for online sites. Its near-100 websites, grouped in Emap Digital, are generating annual revenue of about pounds 10m. In September, Emap sold a 19 per cent interest in Metal Bulletin, the business publishing information group, for pounds 32.6m. Last month, it disposed of Insert, a French outdoor advertising subsidiary that was acquired in 1994 when Emap bought Editions Mondiales, a French consumer magazine publisher.

After hitting 12-month lows at 730p last month, Emap stock has rallied. Although it closed yesterday up 2p at 822p, the shares are well below the all-time high of 1,418p recorded in March.

Informa has made several bolt-on acquisitions since it was formed last year via the merger of LLP Group and IBC Group, a publishing, conference and training provider. Mr Gilbertson is looking at further acquisitions and is prepared to spend upwards of pounds 100m. Informa stock closed at an all-time high, up 4.5p to 431p.

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