Member News: Informa Buys Light Reading

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UK-based Informa has acquired Light Reading, which provides digital information, marketing and events business serving the TMT community. Light Reading will join Informa’s Knowledge & Networking Division, which includes specialist content, data products and high quality “confexes” in several key verticals including TMT.

Informa purchased Light Reading from one of its co-founders, Stephen Saunders, who had sold the business to UBM in 2007 for $33 million, before re-acquiring Light Reading in 2014.

Light Reading hits several points for Informa, including business intelligence, events and targeted marketing. “The key opportunity for us with Light Reading is to expand our depth and connections with the TMT community globally, but we’re excited about Light Reading because it presents a range of specific opportunities, too,” said Andrew Mullins, CEO of Informa’s Knowledge & Networking Division. “We’ll be bringing our data, sales and marketing capabilities, and enhanced event operations to what Light Reading currently does in information services and events, and at the same time, Light Reading will give us more high quality content and expertise in digital and marketing services that we can apply across our event portfolio.”

Mullins confirmed that the plan is for Saunders to remain with Light Reading as part of Informa. Media banker JEGI managed the sale.      

The Light Reading acquisition is part of Informa’s Growth Acceleration Plan, which includes making acquisitions in a targeted and disciplined way in priority markets and geographies, as well as investing $140 million in its infrastructure, including building out data platforms to serve the entire business. At the Connectiv Executive Summit in May, Informa CEO Stephen Carter gave a keynote in which he outlined the Growth and Acceleration Plan, which commenced in 2013 and concludes at the end of 2017 (click here for a recap of Carter’s speech and here for his slides).

“We understand that we are in sub-niches—markets that most don’t even know exist—and the value of those sub-niches,” Carter said. “We definitely understand the value of tailored, personal, face-to-face connectivity, and we understand the value of building a multiplatform capability. What we’re doing now is building data platforms that move across the portfolio.”  


Business Intelligence: Includes products such as Lloyds List and Ovum, has more than 30,000 subscribers and generates $425 million or 23 percent of Informa’s total revenue

Global Exhibitions: Drives revenue of $400m or 22 percent of Informa’s total revenue;

Knowledge & Networking: Includes media and conferences and generates $341 million or 18%, of total revenue

Academic Publishing: $680 million (37% of total revenue)

Matt Matt Kinsman is vice president of content + programming at Connectiv, the only association focused on the integrated b-to-b model—including publications, events, digital media, marketing services and business information. Prior to joining Connectiv's predecessor American Business Media in 2011, Kinsman was executive editor of Folio:, the leading information provider for the magazine industry.