British publisher puts data services business on the block

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UPDATE: UBM, the $1.5 billion British targeted media company has retained Credit Suisse to do a strategic review of its data services business, not print publications as had been earlier reported in the Daily Telegraph.

The data services unit creates targeted data sets for specific industries and sells access to the information through annual subscriptions and consulting services. The business concentrates on the health, technology, transportation and paper industries.

UBM publishes close to a hundred magazines serving the health, technology, and transportation industries. Its titles include Property Week, Travel Trade Gazette, Music Week, and Farmers Guardian. The company's primary revenue stream derives from the 300-odd trade shows and conferences it operates globally in diverse markets such as furniture, jewelry, hospitality, and even spying.  Its Black Hat cyber-security show draws attendees who not only don't wear name tags, but often don't reveal what organizations they represent.

CEO David Levin has made it clear he favors a sale of the data services unit as the company concentrates on its events business. In a profile of the executive published by the newspaper earlier this year, Levin appeared pessimistic about the future of print. “The world of music has been eaten by software completely,” he opined. “Along comes the newspaper world. The same fight's being fought, and frankly, the same outcome: The world of software has hit it and software has won.”

UBM was formerly known as United Newspaper Limited and then United Business Media. The company also owns PR Newswire.

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