Digital-first Centaur Media is back on lookout for buys

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The Independent Online

The publisher of The Lawyer and Marketing Week is ready to go on the acquisition trail again as Centaur Media chief executive Geoff Wilmot says a lengthy reshaping of the business to make it "digital-first" is now over.

"We're now resuming a more proactive approach to looking at M&A opportunities," declared Mr Wilmot, who has slashed the group's dependence on print and advertising and boosted revenues from subscriptions and events. Despite a sudden increase in takeover activity in the media sector, he said valuations did not look frothy.

Centaur swung back into profit on an underlying basis, but it fell to a half-year loss of £5m as it racked up one-off costs, which included the closure of the print edition of The Engineer magazine. Revenues rose 14 per cent to £30.4m as a greater focus on digital, including July's acquisition of digital marketing firm Econsultancy, paid off.

However, conditions remain tough in the legal and marketing sectors and personal finance had also faced temporary uncertainty with new rules on financial advisers.