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Monday, June 09, 2008

UBM and Informa flirt with Each Other

The Telegraph and others report that UBM and Informa are in talks about a merger, which would create a very big thing indeed. The question that needs to be answered though is whether being a very big thing indeed is enough to make it worth doing.

Post acquisition integration work is normally badly done in these deals. Senior executives love the excitemtn of the deal but get bored with the detailed implementation. Costs come out, but the strategy upside somehow never sees the light of day.

The argument is that Informa is better placed post deal because its indebted balance sheet would no longer look quite so scary whilst for UBM it would reduce its exposure to advertsing revenues. All true of course, but strategy is much more than the maths of the deal if long term value is to be created.

How can the Informa conference expertise be implanted into the UBM publishing business? What is the plan for replcing the profits from dying magazines? (Paul Conley reports on more lay offs from UBM in the US). How will the new merged entity use its bigger muscle to accelerate growth in developing markets?

Some argue that all merger talk might provoke a private equity bid for Informa. This would be bad news for the RBI sale as Informa would be seen as a more attractive business. Perhaps Informa should merge with RBI. Now theres a a thought.

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