Monday, 9 June 2008

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...

OK, I've used that title before when Informa bought Datamonitor (for c£600m in mid 2007) which had bought Ovum (for c£43m in late 2006) which had bought my own company Richard Holway Ltd (for c£5.8m in late 2000).

This morning Informa confirmed to the Stock Exchange that it had received an approach from UBM concerning an all share merger. This followed much speculation about who might buy Informa and articles in The Sunday Times yesterday and the FT today forecasting Informa in UBM merger talks. In turn, this might flush out other bidders eg from Private Equity.

Whether Datamonitor was a good deal for Informa and its shareholders is open to debate. Informa took on a lot of debt in the process (not a good place to be in today's climate) and their share price has slumped by around 40% since; a rather greater slump than the 25% fall in the FTSE Media Index in the same period.

Personally I rather like the idea of a UBM/Informa coupling which would create a new FTSE100 sized company with a market capitalisation of c£3b. My old boss, Geoff Unwin (who was the CEO of Capgemini) has just stepped down as the Ch of UBM. However, how it plays with the band of old Ovum and Richard Holway Ltd people still with Datamonitor, is another matter. Quite a change from working directly for the boss in his back room to being part of a FTSE 100 company!

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