Emap deal signals ME ambition

British media giant Emap has signaled its intention to expand further into the Middle East market after it bought online business news portal AME Info.

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By  Published  July 9, 2006

British media giant Emap has signaled its intention to expand further into the Middle East market after it bought online business news portal AME Info. Emap Communications, the business-to-business division of Emap, acquired AME Info for US$24 million with the promise of a further cash payment of up to US$5 million depending on AME Info’s performance between now and the end of the year. AME Info, which employs 20 people at its Dubai Media City office, will now sit alongside Emap’s business publication — the Middle East Economic Digest. Emap said there were no plans to change the AME Info name and that the existing management would continue to run the business on a day-to-day basis. Richard Baker, managing director of Emap’s operations in the region, told Campaign that bringing AME Info into the Emap stable would enable it to pursue further business opportunities in the region. He said that while there were no concrete plans for more acquisitions, Emap viewed the Middle East as an attractive market. He said that the company was interested in “quality businesses” with “strong brands” that fitted in with Emap’s existing portfolio. “Our view is that this market is attractive and we are looking at further product developments and if there were other deals to be done with the right kind of business at the right price, we would certainly entertain them and look at them very seriously,” he said. “One of the things we have said to the AME people and the MEED people was that for Emap to make this level of commitment we are certainly serious about the region and if there are the right kind of deals to do there’s an appetite to get more involved in things,” he added. AME Info had 752,438 unique users according to its ABC audit in March, which Baker said was a key factor in the deal going ahead. “I think it would be fair to say that if the audit had not been in place it is highly unlikely that we would have done the deal. “Emap policy is that we only publish audited titles and, particularly with an online business, having an audit is vital.” Klaus Lovgreen, CEO at AME Info, said that the acquisition would significantly expand AME Info’s operations base in the Middle East. “To move on we feel that this is right thing for AME Info to do. Everyone is very excited about it and there are a lot of new things in the pipeline,” he said. “AME Info is a brand that has grown with the region, and this international investment has proved that brands in the Middle East are on a par with any around the world. “The deal will provide us with the backing and scale to expand, as well as an enhanced back-room engine — including IT, administration and human resource departments,” he added. Emap said that while there were no immediate plans to move AME Info into the MEED office, it made sense for the two businesses to eventually come together if there was space available at Dubai Media City. AME Info was founded in 1996 and covers all aspects of business news in the Middle East region.

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