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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Consolidation is the only way to survive

The UK business media market is very fragmented. As traditional revenues come under increasing pressure the need to amortise overhead will become ever more pressing. For some small to medium sized players this will become urgent soon. It is expected that Findlay, the specialist engineering and manufacturing publisher in Kent will be put up for sale in the next year or so. Faversham House, the small niche publisher in Croydon was touted around the market last year, but there were no takers. Incisive Media has grown through a series of acquisitions but now finds its share price stalled and revene growth expectations hard to measure up to. Centaur has just about delivered against its float promise, but increasingly liooks like a chaotic mush of smallish positions in too many dull markets. United has no discernibale strategy. Least ways none that can be made out from UBM CEO David Levin's speech to the PPA recently. (I may write a critique of this speech. I found it shocking). Reed Business Information has growth in it's jobs board business and has some interesting search intitiatives, but must be questionining the value of its core magazine and trade show businesses which look decreasingly strategic and high growth. Emap is suffering from the fall in its public sector advertising which has hurt its local government and health publishing.

My prediction is that within two years all these businesses and more, will be reporting year on year revenue declines in double digit percentages. Bulk up now, or shrivel and die.

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