UBM acquires Ithaca Holdings for £14.25m

United Business Media (UBM) has acquired Ithaca Holdings for £14.25m. UBM will now integrate the company, which operates a portfolio of six UK shows, into its CMP Information division.

Ithaca Business Media was formed in May 2005 following a management buy-out from US-based Penton Media and was headed up by former Penton Media Europe managing director Andy Center.

The buy-out team comprised chief operating officer Jonathan Wood, commercial director Phil Nelson, divisional director Michael Westcott, marketing director John Soane, group event director Mark Napier and head of human resources Celia Guy. They owned 65% of the business.

Speaking exclusively to Event, Center said: "This is a bittersweet moment as it's a wrench to walk away from such brilliant people and such great products. In a way, I feel like I have sold a member of my family. But when I look at the macro-economic climate I can't help feeling that the time is probably right. As nearly everyone here shared in the gain there were plenty of smiles around when we announced the deal.

"My hope is that CMP will give the products the care they deserve and the team the respect they have earned. If they do, this will be a doozy of an investment for them.

"I won't comment on UBM's negotiating and business ethos - each to its own, I guess - other than to say that CMPi's operational management have, so far, been a pleasure to work with and have been brilliant with the team."

Industry stalwart Phil Soar joined Ithaca last year as non-executive chairman and helped to facilitate the sale.

Center has confirmed that he will remain with CMPi for six months and help integrate shows including Internet World, Leisure Industry Week and Service Management Europe into the CMPi portfolio.

He said: "Frankly, we've had more fun than is decent and we look forward to trying again to prove that smaller businesses that give everyone a chance to feel like an owner, rather than just an employee, produce the kind of commitment and speed to market advantages that occasionally allow David to give Goliath something to think about."

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