Emap to buy US publisher for $1.2 billion

- Emap, the UK publishing giant, is to buy the US publishing specialist, Petersen Companies, for $1.2 billion (£720 million) ending its long search for a US acquisition.

- Emap, the UK publishing giant, is to buy the US publishing specialist, Petersen Companies, for $1.2 billion (£720 million) ending its long search for a US acquisition.

The deal, which involves Emap taking a 73.5 per cent of Petersen's share capital, gives Emap control of around 130 titles broadly complementary to its UK interests.

Petersen specialises in magazines in the automotive, outdoor, teen, sports and young male sectors. Titles include Motor Trend, Teen, Hot Rod and Surfer.

News of the deal pushed Petersen's share price up $11 to $34 a share.

Kevin Hand, group chief executive of Emap, said: "Petersen represents the outstanding opportunity for us to secure a successful, well-managed business in the US – the world's largest media market – and an important step towards fulfilling our international strategy. With so many of its titles complementary to our own around the world, Petersen is the perfect fit."

The acquisition comes little more than a year after Petersen went public last October with a $17 share price. This followed the company's buyout from its founder, Bob Petersen, for $450 million in August 1996.

An acquisition spree following flotation has seen it spend hundreds of millions of dollars, most recently paying $60 million for six consumer computing titles from the Curtco Freedom Group.

The acquisition is conditional upon the approval of the Emap's shareholders, which will be sought at and extraordinary general meeting of the company.



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