Despite reports earlier today indicating that UBM has put some of its print magazines up for sale the company is saying that it’s the data services business that’s actually up for review. Included in that group are the Techinsights, Aviation, Global Trade and other related data services operations.
The strategic review of UBM’s data services business was announced back in July during the company’s 2012 interim results presentation.
According to a spokesperson, there are one or two print titles associated with these groups, but the bulk of any print products included in the review are directories. "This is purely about the data services business, it does not touch the magazine business," says the spokesperson.
The company had indeed secured Credit Suisse to run the review, which has been going on since July and, according to the spokesperson, may not end up in a sale. "It may or may not end up as a sale. The point about this process is UBM, like any other media company, has limited capital resources and is challenged in figuring out where it should be deployed."
The review is expected to last until spring 2013.
Here’s a choice bit of UBM CEO David Levin’s presentation during the interim results meeting:
"We’ve made relatively few acquisitions in the data services area and that’s not been for lack of choices. It’s been for the fact that we’ve seen better returns on the capital that we’ve been able to deploy against our events business and against PR Newswire. So it’s in light of that that we’ve sat back and thought how do we take the strategy forward and one of the consequences of that has been a choice that we announced today, the beginning of a strategic review for our data services business. That strategic review is effectively considering three questions: What’s it worth to us? What would it be worth to a third party? And the third question is, how would we redeploy the capital internally and what would the yield on that be?"
As it turns out, that capital would most likely be put against the PR Newswire group and UBM’s events, two favored and better performing groups as Levin indicates in his statement.
According to UBM financials, Data Services revenues were $145 million at the half, down from $161 million from the same period last year. The group accounts for about 18 percent of total revenue.