UBM-Informa merger talks end

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United Business Media (UBM) announced the breakdown of merger talks with Informa last night, as Informa put out a statement confirming an approach from a third party offering cash.

Sources close to UBM say negotiations on the all-share deal that would have created a global group worth £3.1bn were finally terminated yesterday because Informa's rising share price made the nil-premium deal uneconomic for UBM shareholders. Informa's stock was up 5.2 per cent yesterday alone, taking to 470p compared with the 386p level at the time when discussions were first made public last week.

But the danger was always that UBM's advances, capitalising on investor wariness over acquisition debts and a gently sliding share price, could prompt other suitors. Informa released no details beyond the fact that the new approach may or may not lead to a takeover offer, but the group has been the subject of private equity interest before.

UBM says it will continue its growth strategy, within requirements that acquisitions deliver 8 per cent post-tax returns in the first year.