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United Group

Overview

This profile considers UBM, formerly United News & Media.


It covers -

  • Introduction
  • The group
  • Studies

Introduction

UK-based United Business Media (UBM), formerly United News & Media, gains around 75% of its revenue from the US.

It embraces directories and technical magazines such as Barbour Index and InformationWeek, PR services and specialist advertising publications.

It formerly included major UK metropolitan and regional newspaper holdings, opinion polling and business surveys (NOP, Roper Starch), merchant banking and commercial television holdings.

The group

The group's history is outlined here.

During the 1914-18 War opponents of Prime Minister Lloyd George formed the United Newspaper group, bringing together papers in the south and north of England. Following the death of newspaper buccaneer Lord Beaverbrook his Express Group was absorbed by property and shipping conglomerate Trafalgar House.

Trafalgar subsequently spun off its media interests into Fleet Holdings, which was acquired by United (having taken over further papers in northern England such as the Yorkshire Post). United then merged with television, merchant banking, opinion polls and newspaper conglomerate MAI.

The new group - United News & Media - increased its television holdings, bought and sold magazines, sold its provincial newspaper holdings and spun off its finance arm.

Moves to merge with Carlton and with Granada were unsuccessful. It sold its remaining newspapers (the Daily Express and Sunday Express went to Britain's leading publisher of soft-core porn), along with its television interests to Granada, further magazines and its Miller Freeman exhibition unit.

In 2005 it sold its NOP World market research business to GfK Aktiengesellschaft for £383 million. In July of that year it announced the sale of its 35% stake in UK Channel Five Television to RTL for £247m

Studies

For studies of the Express see works cited in the Beaverbrook profile, such as The Fall of the House of Beaverbrook (London: Deutsch 1979) by Lewis Chester & Jonathan Fenby and The Rise & Fall of Communication Empires (PDF) by Robert Picard. The early history of Provincial Newspapers and United Newspapers features in Stephen Koss's The Rise & Fall of the Political Press in Britain (London: Hamish Hamilton 1984).

For Trafalgar House see Nigel Broackes' self-congratulatory A Growing Concern : An Autobiography (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1979). MAI features in volume 5 of David Kynaston's The City of London (London: Chatto & Windus 2001). For a somewhat conspiracist account of Carlyle see Dan Briody's The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group (New York: Wiley 2003).

Other resources are highlighted in the Fleet Street profile on this site.