UBM buys medical publisher MediMedia in £188m deal

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Lord Hollick's United Business Media yesterday announced the acquisition of a medical publisher for €283m (£188m), the company's biggest deal since selling out of consumer media in 2000.

Lord Hollick's United Business Media yesterday announced the acquisition of a medical publisher for €283m (£188m), the company's biggest deal since selling out of consumer media in 2000.

The cash purchase of MediMedia, which is focused on Europe and Asia, significantly boosts the proportion of group operations in the health care area, which had so far concentrated on the US and UK. The deal increases the size of the health care division from 17 to 23 per cent of group sales - about the same as UBM's technology publishing business.

Aside from business-to-business publishing, UBM also has a division that distributes press releases and it owns NOP market research. In February, the company, which is debt-free, said it had £500m of firepower to spend on acquisitions. Last year, UBM spent £130m on buying businesses, including the Builder Group magazines for the construction industry.

MediMedia has drug information businesses in Europe and Asia, and trade press, patient education and pharmaceutical marketing businesses in Germany, Benelux and Asia-Pacific.

Last year, MediMedia's turnover was €105.8m, with operating profits of €24.4m. UBM said the acquisition would be earnings neutral in 2004 and predicted it would increase earnings more than 5 per cent in 2005.

Stephen Warshaw, who has been responsible for MediMedia's European operations, would be appointed chief executive of the acquired businesses after completion. The deal requires the approval of a workers council.

Lord Hollick, the chief executive of UBM, said: "This proposed acquisition is an excellent fit with our strategy of building our core franchisesand extending our geographical coverage in key markets on attractive financial terms."

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