UBM Sells PR Newswire to Cision for $841 Million
Intended to refine UBM's focus on live events, the deal is expected to be completed in early 2016.
After more than three decades under the UBM umbrella, PR Newswire is changing hands.
London-based business-to-business media and live events producer UBM plc announced Tuesday an agreement to sell the wire service to Chicago-based public relations software firm Cision, Inc.
UBM will receive $841 million in cash and preferred equity as part of the deal, which is still pending shareholder and regulatory approval and expected to be completed in early 2016.
The move does not come as a surprise; in late September, UBM confirmed that it was in "highly preliminary discussions with a number of parties" regarding the sale of New York-based PR Newswire.
The sale is intended to allow UBM to focus on further developing its live events business, including future acquisitions, the company said.
"Today's announcement represents a significant step in the execution of UBM's 'Events First' strategy, the objective of which is to become the world's leading focused B2B events business," said CEO Tim Cobbold in an official statement.
The sale is the latest in a string of recent transactions aimed at refining the company's focus. In 2012, UBM sold its agriculture and medical general practitioner brands—including Farmers Guardian and Pulse magazines—to Briefing Media Ltd before acquiring a series of Asia-based trade shows. A year later, UBM sold its data service businesses to Electra Partners.
Founded in 1954, PR Newswire distributes public and investor relations releases on behalf of over 30,000 global clients, according to the company. Its main competitor is Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Business Wire.
Following the deal's completion, PR Newswire will join Gorkana Group, PR Web, HARO, and iContact as Cision subsidiaries. Coupled with the company's existing monitoring and analytics platforms, the acquisition of PR Newswire will allow Cision to provide its clients with the "necessary link between communications and business outcomes," said Cision CEO Peter Granat.
"We are seirous about building a comprehensive platform to help our clients manage the entire lifecycle of communications," said Granat in a statement.
UBM will return £245 million ($367 million) to shareholders as a result of the sale, the company said.