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Major Restructuring at CMP Technology

UBM’s David Levin: ‘The company that was CMP is now gone.’



By Jason Fell
02/29/2008

London-based United Business Media today announced a major restructuring of CMP Technology, effectively transforming the company into four separate businesses that will be led by four different CEOs.

“The company that was CMP is now gone,” UBM chief executive David Levin said in an interview with FOLIO:. The four CEOs will report to Levin. “We’ve changed from what was an old magazine company to four integrated media companies. It’s the next important step in CMP’s evolution.”

The impetus for the restructuring came after months of market analysis, Levin says, during which CMP determined that the company was working in “very different markets,” and split into four businesses to better align CMP’s products with its customers: TechWeb, a technology market business of Web sites such as InformationWeek.com and Light Reading, and events including Interop and VoiceCon; the Everything Channel, which formerly was the CMP Channel; TechInsights, which formerly was CMP’s Electronics Group; and Think Services, CMP’s former Game, Dr. Dobb’s and International Customer Management Group.

The respective CEOs are Business Technology Group president Tony Uphoff (who takes over TechWeb), CMP Channel president Robert Falerta (who will run the Everything Channel), Electronics Group president Paul Miller (who takes over TechInsights) and CMP Game, Dobb's, Customer Management groups president Philip Chapnick (who will run Think Services).

The dramatic restructuring comes nearly two months after Steve Weitzner, who was moved from CEO to chairman earlier this year, left the company in January for rival publisher Ziff Davis Enterprise. Last June, facing significant annual declines in technology print advertising, CMP restructured in an attempt to focus on digital media. The company laid off 200 staffers and closed three magazines.

According to Levin, this new round of restructuring is not a “complicated solution” and not a sign that UBM may be looking to divest one or more of the separate businesses. “Anyone who would suggest that is someone who hasn’t been looking at what we’re doing,” says Levin. “We’ve made three acquisitions already in 2008 and that shows that we’re very serious about this business and are investing heavily in it.” Last week, CMP announced an agreement to purchase face-to-face events provider Gartner’s Vision Events business for $11.4 million.

Plan B?

Not everyone, however, is convinced that the restructuring makes sense. “This seems like the plan B to a failed plan A,” one industry observer tells FOLIO:. “After Steve left, CMP spent time, effort and money actively recruiting a new CEO. What happened? To me, this says that they couldn’t attract a high-caliber CEO to run the company. By naming these glorified division heads it seems as though the company may be losing focus.”

UBM reported CMP’s 2007 revenues were $320 million and profits touched $50 million, up 30 percent over 2006. In 2007, the company generated 38.3 percent of revenue from print products, 34.2 percent from events, 20.2 percent from online products and 7.3 percent form workflow tools and business information services. Last year was the first since 2001 that CMP realized underlying revenue growth, Levin says.

While some job descriptions will change as a result of the restructuring, no job cuts are planned, Levin says. “This is not about a reduction in force. In fact, there may well be areas where we need more people.”

By Jason Fell
02/29/2008




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