Media Lifeline: Emap's ups and downs

The publisher's share price has had a rough ride through its troubled US ventures and online woes.

1985: Having begun (in the 70s) to evolve away from its heritage as a rather sleepy regional newspaper publisher, Emap's share price climbs gently from 20p in 1980 to 50p by the end of 1984. But take-off is fuelled by its acquisition of a business press and exhibitions division in 1984, pushing shares through the £1 mark for the first time in May 1985.

February 1998: Across the late 80s and early 90s, the share price hovers around £2 - but it begins to climb inexorably following the company's diversification into radio in 1990 and accelerates with its move into TV in 1996. In early 1998, it powers though the £10 mark for the first time.

January 2000: On the back of the dotcom boom, the share price soars above £17. But disaster is just around the corner. Its Petersen division in the US, acquired for £1 billion in 1998 in an expansion strategy overseen by its chief executive, Kevin Hand (pictured), is in trouble; worse, the dotcom bubble is about to burst. By the end of the year, the share price is below £8.

January 2003: The appointment of Tom Moloney as the new chief executive is hailed in many quarters - he is seen as a safe pair of hands. In terms of share price, the worst is over (it had slid down towards £5 in the autumn of 2001) - and as Moloney sells off underperforming assets and restructures to make more of the company's multi-platform music brands, the price climbs back above £8 for sustained periods.

July 2006: Shares slide an alarming 125p to £7.12p as the Emap chairman, Adam Broadbent, reveals that lower revenues, not just at FHM but also at Car and Bike, are likely to dent profits. But he also reveals that the shift of ad revenues back into online is causing the company structural problems. Moloney (pictured) comes under pressure from shareholders.

Fast forward ...

2008: With the second dotcom boom showing no sign of slowing down, there is celebration at Emap as the share price hits an all-time high, bursting through the £18 mark. Senior management shows no sign of nervousness as the company stumps up $10 billion to acquire the broadband netcasting interests of Time Warner; but some City analysts start getting these weird feelings of deja vu.

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