UBM Agrees to Sell PR Newswire for $841 Million to Cision

  • Sale gives UBM funds for acquisitions to grow events business
  • Shareholders to get 245 million pounds in special dividend

UBM Plc, the U.K. event and marketing services provider, agreed to sell its news-release distribution service PR Newswire for $841 million to GTCR’s Cision to focus on its events business.

UBM will get $810 million in cash and $31 million in preferred equity, its said Tuesday in a statement. The London-based company plans to return 245 million pounds ($372 million) to shareholders as a special dividend.

The sale is set to transform UBM into a company focusing on the “high-growth
global events sector,” it said. UBM competes with Relx Plc and Informa Plc in organizing some of the world’s largest trade shows and exhibitions, from the Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair to a gathering of toilet paper makers at the Tissue World show in Barcelona.

UBM said the deal will reduce its earnings initially, and the company plans to use some of the proceeds to boost growth through so-called bolt-on acquisitions.

Shares of UBM advanced 2.8 percent to 486.10 pence as of 8:27 a.m. in London, giving the company a market value of 2.2 billion pounds. UBM expects to complete the disposal in the first quarter.

Cision, a news-release service owned by Chicago-based private-equity firm GTCR, said the acquisition strengthens its service to public-relations professionals. Cision also owns the Gorkana Group and PRWeb businesses.

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