Earnings: UBM Expects Mixed ’08, Buys Xinhua Out Of PRNewswire JV

Web 2.0 Expo conference operator United Business Media (LSE: UBM) (UBM) says its Music Week publisher CMPi and its PRNewswire unit will post lower profits than last year, in the 12 months to October – due to the slowing UK economy, investment in new products and the loss of US PRNewswire clients. To better drive the latter, it announced it’s buying newswire Xinhua’s stake in their six-year-old Xinhua PRNewswire JV for $6 million cash, and will rename it “PRNewswire China” with a plan to add video services (release).

Overall, UBM said “complex trading environments across most of the sectors in which we operate” had compelled it to do fewer acquisitions, restructure some of its businesses, reduce head count and trim other costs. UBM’s Technology business, which publishes Information Week, expects profits well above 2007, after splitting what used to be CMP Technology in to four separate units earlier this year. CMPMedia, too, expects growth.

Print advertising is down by as much as 20 percent, thanks to both the economy and an “accelerated switch to digital and on-line platforms”, but Farmers Guardian and Information Week are still growing market share and UBM’s two biggest online businesses – the tech unit’s TechWeb and Everything Channel – will grow by the same amount, though slowing next year.

UBM’s core suite of events – including Web 2.0 Expo and Game Developer Conference – saw double-digit sales growth and is expected to make up 40 percent of 2008 profit, though its furniture event Interiors is likely to slump. Release.