Media: Lifeline - United Business Media

The restyled company is selling off the last of its consumer media interests

1996: MAI, an investment company that had diversified into media, including the ITV Anglia franchise, merges with United Newspapers, the owner of the Express titles, to form United News and Media. It announces an ambitious investment programme for Express Newspapers and also serves notice of its ambitions in television by taking control of HTV.

1998: United News and Media's chief executive, Clive Hollick (pictured), decides to sell off its securities and broking businesses and regional publishing interests, in order to concentrate on national consumer media.

2000: United sells its ITV interests to Granada. Having decided to focus on business and professional media, Hollick sells the Express titles to Richard Desmond (pictured). The company is renamed United Business Media.

2004: Having developed the company's new strategy of acquiring information suppliers in industrial sectors such as technology, healthcare, automotive and property, Hollick announces that he has decided to step down as chief executive as his 60th birthday approaches. His successor is David Levin, the chief executive of Symbian Limited, a mobile phone software development company.

2005: UBM, which now derives 75 per cent of its revenues from the US and which concentrates largely on directories, technical magazines, exhibitions and trade fairs, begins selling the last of its consumer media properties, including its stakes in five and ITN. Research businesses such as NOP and the German company GfK are also sold.

Fast forward ...

2008: UBM, which over the past couple of years has been pursuing new directions - including a vigorous acquisition policy in mobile media technology companies - now begins divesting itself of its trade fairs and exhibitions businesses. Live events such as these, it predicts, will disappear into the virtual world of hyper-reality by the end of the decade.