Future plc acquires SmartBrief for USD 45M

Future plc logoFuture plc has acquired SmartBrief Inc., a US-based digital media publisher of targeted business news and information for USD 45 million. The initial amount will include a cash consideration of USD 32.2 million funded from the Group’s existing debt facilities, with a further USD 12.8 million to be satisfied through the issue to the vendors of 1,027,492 new ordinary shares. The agreement also includes a deferred consideration based on certain financial targets achieved over the year ending 31 July 2020, which is subject to a cap of USD 20 million.

Leveraging proprietary technology and editorial expertise, SmartBrief delivers relevant industry news in partnership with trade associations, professional societies and corporations. SmartBrief owns a database of over 5.8 million subscribers made up of senior executives, thought leaders and industry professionals.

Founded in 1999 and based in Washington DC, SmartBrief creates and distributes more than 250 digital newsletters, allowing advertisers to target and engage with decision-makers and influencers across multiple sectors including food and travel, business, education, finance, health care, retail, tech, marketing and advertising. During 2018 Future extended its successful consumer strategy into B2B through the acquisition of NewBay Media in the US, which enabled Future to access the B2B market with several market-leading titles.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, said, “The acquisition of SmartBrief will substantially boost our presence and market position in the B2B sector and enhance our technology capabilities.”

“SmartBrief is a leading, respected provider of sector-focused newsletters and daily email briefings covering a range of key verticals. The addition of SmartBrief’s must-read information products to our portfolio will further extend the reach of our B2B operations. The acquisition will be earnings enhancing, and we have identified several exciting opportunities to leverage SmartBrief’s proprietary technology in both our B2C and B2B business.”

UK, London & USA, Washington DC, WA

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Infopro Digital to acquire B2B publisher DOCUgroup

InfoPro DigitalInfopro Digital group is to enter into the acquisition of DOCUgroup, taking a major step in its international expansion. The acquisition will be financed with additional indebtedness, available cash on hand at the group level and an equity contribution from the shareholders of Infopro Digital group. The majority shareholder of Infopro Digital, alongside management of the group, is TowerBrook. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

DOCUgroup is a leader in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in business information for the construction, architecture and real estate industries.

DOCUgroup has two main activities: Project Information, whose flagship brand is IBAU, an online subscription platform that references almost 1 million private and public real estate projects; and Product Information, with leading brands such as Heinze and Baunetz, which are digital platforms that enable architects and planners to access databases and detailed information for over 500,000 products. These platforms attract around 15 million online visits each year.

Infopro Digital also offers services to professionals in the building industry in France, Belgium and the Netherlands through Le Moniteur and Vecteur Plus.

Over 500 employees will join the Infopro Digital group, to bring the total to more than 3,200 people worldwide. DOCUgroup generates a turnover of 67 million EUR, which will allow Infopro Digital to reach a turnover of approximately 440 million EUR once the acquisition is completed.

Christophe Czajka, Executive Chairman of Infopro Digital, said,“With the acquisition of DOCUgroup, we become a truly European BtB and Data company. The share of our turnover generated outside of France increased from 14% to 35% in less than a year. Over 1,300 group employees will be based in Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, Austria, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the United States, Hong Kong, and Tunisia.”

Julien Elmaleh, CEO of Infopro Digital, added, “The DOCUgroup DNA fits perfectly with that of Infopro Digital: databases and digital platforms allowing professionals to develop their commercial activity and have detailed and high quality business information. Combined, we will have an unmatched offer for professionals in the building industry”.

France, Ile-de-France & Germany, Munich

Clarion Events completes merger with Global Sources

ClarionLondon-based Clarion Events, one of the world’s leading independent events organisers, has completed a merger with Global Sources, a leading Asian exhibitions and online B2B marketplace operator based in Hong Kong. Funds managed by Blackstone will control the combined group. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Combining both market-leaders will create one of the largest privately-owned exhibitions businesses globally, with substantial scale across Asia, Europe and North America, organising 200 events per year and generating more than £300m of Revenues. The combined group will be led by the existing Clarion management team under Chief Executive Officer Russell Wilcox and Chairman Simon Kimble. The new group will continue to operate under the name Clarion Events, with the Global Sources brand identity retained in the Asian region.

Commenting on the announcement, Russell Wilcox, CEO of Clarion Events, said: “This merger marks an important milestone for both companies as we embark on an exciting new chapter. With the support of Blackstone, the new Group is well positioned to take advantage of our combined scale and global platform. We look forward to working with the Global Sources management, and believe that the remarkable expertise and capability of the combined company offers a very strong opportunity for future growth.”

UK, London & Hong Kong

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Merkle’s Dentsu Aegis Network acquires DWA digital media and marketing agency

Dentsu Aegis NetworkDentsu Aegis Network has acquired the global B-to-B digital media and marketing agency, DWA. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Established in 1996, DWA applies expertise in ad-tech, real-time insight, and management decision support to a range of integrated, global media including Programmatic, Search, Social, and Demand Generation.

The move will expand the B-to-B offering at people-based marketing agency, Merkle, increasing existing capabilities and offering brands in the technology and B-to-B sectors greater sophistication, integrated technology, data, creativity, and performance marketing. The new business will be branded “DWA, a Merkle company”.

David Williams, President and CEO of Merkle, said, “There’s a growing group of enterprise level, B-to-B and technology businesses, all moving at breakneck pace to adopt the best advertising solutions and platforms. DWA’s client list reflects a clear early-mover advantage. The shift toward people-based marketing, led by Merkle, is as relevant in B-to-B as it is elsewhere. This acquisition will strengthen our ability to deliver those capabilities for B-to-B clients, at scale.”

USA, New York, NY & San Francisco, CA

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Tarsus Group – record first half

TarsusTarsus Group plc, the international business-to-business media group, has announced records results for the six months ended 30 June 2013.

Douglas Emslie, Group Managing Director, said, “Tarsus has delivered record results for the first six months of the year with good like-for-like revenue growth. We are focused on delivering our “Quickening the Pace” strategy and we have got off to a fast start. We continue to add value to our portfolio of market leading events by replicating these brands both domestically and internationally. The pace of brand replications has quickened during the period.

We have good visibility for the full year, especially from our two largest events – the Dubai Airshow and Labelexpo Europe – and we are confident of a positive full year outcome”.


  • Record results for first half of year
  • Like-for-like revenue up 8% on 2012 as adjusted for biennials and acquisitions
  • Strong underlying revenue growth driving profitability
  • Adjusted profit and EPS up significantly
  • Operating cash inflow of £8.9m in period
  • Interim dividend up 5% to 2.3p (2012: 2.2p)
  • Very strong performance from Emerging Markets with 13% like-for-like revenue growth
    • Turkey like-for-like revenues +13%
    • China like-for-like revenues +20%
    • Dubai like-for-like revenues +6%
  • Acquisition of 51% of PT Infrastructure Asia completed, providing an important base in Indonesia

Click on the financial highlights table for a larger view

Tarsus HY 2013


  • Forward bookings currently 12% ahead of 2012
  • Labelexpo Europe and the Dubai Airshow both tracking well ahead of previous events

UK, London & Indonesia, Jakarta

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Stephen Carter to replace Peter Rigby as Informa Group Chief Executive

Stephen CarterInforma Plc, the international publishing, business information and events company, has announced that Stephen A. Carter will replace Peter Rigby as Group Chief Executive when Rigby retires at the end of 2013.


Forty nine years old Carter has been an Informa board director since 2010. He was formerly President/Managing Director EMEA and President/Managing Director Global Managed Services at Alcatel-Lucent, the telecommunications and technology group. Before joining Alcatel-Lucent, he worked in a number of senior roles in the media and communications sector, including serving a term as the Founding Chief Executive of Ofcom, the UK Communications Industry Regulator.

Peter Rigby (58) first joined Informa in 1983 and has served as Chief Executive or Executive Chairman since 1988.

Since joining Informa in 1983, the company has grown from a company valued at a few million pounds to a business with a market capitalisation exceeding £3 billion. In the process, the company has been transformed from the original print publishing business into a global digital data, information and events group. In 2012, almost 75% of Informa’s publishing revenue was digital. The company now employs more than 7,000 people across its Academic Publishing, Events and Business Information operations.

Informa Chairman Derek Mapp said, “Informa owes a huge debt of gratitude to Peter, who has devoted a large portion of his career to the group, guiding it from humble beginnings into the leading global media group it is today. His boundless energy, enthusiasm and passionate management style has touched many people during his tenure and reflected in the unique culture prevalent across the group. I am sure that all of Informa’s stakeholders, including employees, shareholders and customers, will join me in thanking him for his enormous contribution to the company.

I am delighted that Peter’s business legacy will be continued by an executive of Stephen Carter’s calibre. The Board was unanimous that Stephen’s UK and international experience, knowledge and strategic understanding of the digital and technology industries, combined with his empathy for Informa’s unique culture and commercial success, made him a natural choice as Peter’s successor.”

UK, London

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Centaur Media PLC – half year trading update

Centaur Media plccentaur, the business information, events and marketing services group, has issued a trading update for the six months to 31 December 2012.

The Group expects to report results in line with the Board’s expectations, with reported revenues 14% ahead of the same period last year and EBITDA margins increased to 10% from 6%. Underlying revenues across the Group as a whole declined by 3%.

The Group has continued to maintain good momentum in improving its revenue mix. Digital and events revenues now account for 39% and 28% respectively of total Group revenues, up from 32% and 22% in the same period last year. Over the same period, the share of total Group revenues generated in print format has reduced, as expected, to 31% from 45%.

The improving mix of revenues in favour of events and paid-for content has also increased levels of visibility into the second half of the financial year.  Deferred revenues at 31 December 2012 were approximately £15m, 30% ahead of the same period last year.

Growth in underlying revenues across the Business Information and Exhibitions divisions has been offset by weaker revenues across the Business Publishing financial and marketing communities. Reported revenues across the Business Information division are substantially up, reflecting the impact of recent acquisitions, despite the deferral of some corporate training engagements into H2.

Net debt at 31 December 2012 was £24.5m, representing leverage of approximately two times. The Group’s earnings and cash flows continue to be weighted towards the second half of the financial year and leverage is expected to fall rapidly in the next six months.

As anticipated, the Group will report exceptional costs for the first six months of the year related to reorganisation costs, IFRS3 earn-out charges and acquisitions.

Geoff Wilmot, Chief Executive, said:

“We have maintained momentum in improving the quality of our portfolio of activities as we continue to grow revenues from digital and events. We continue to focus on increasing margins and we have a strong pipeline of new product development initiatives which positions us well to deliver further growth in the medium term.

“We anticipate trading to be in line with our expectations for the current financial year, although the second half of our financial year continues to account for the large majority of our earnings.”

The Group expects to release its half yearly earnings report on 20 February 2013.

UK, London

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