Centaur Revenue Down 28 Percent Despite Cuts, Ends Takeover Talks

It’s supposed to be a B2B publisher, but The Lawyer and New Media Age operator Centaur Media is posting financial falls on par with consumer newspapers.

July-to-October revenue is 28 percent down from last year, though that’s marginally less than January-to-June’s 32 percent annual tumble.

— Income would have been lower still were it not for a cost cutting programme – Centaur shaved 21 percent of its outgoings compared with last year, including axing three percent of staff since this June, on top of the 18 percent it cut in its 2008/09 fiscal year. Cost cuts were £12 million through 08/09.

— Centaur sees light at the end of the tunnel – in the July-to-October period, monthly advertising sales were 10 percent up on those during January-to-June, “with both print and online products delivering similar levels of recovery”.

Conference ticket sales in its events business “remained patchy”, despite slightly improved advance sponsorship for the events.

But Centaur is trumpeting its “fundamental strengths” including “market-leading brands” and what it’s sure will be “cyclical recovery”: “As in previous cycles, the recovery is expected to drive strong revenue growth for the group, which should attract a high level of marginal profitability enhanced by the investments we have made in our online businesses.”

But this is either hopeful or pie in the sky, just like Centaur’s belief that being debt-free affords it “future investment and acquisition opportunities” – it may be Centaur itself that is a chance buy-up opportunity…

After rejecting an unsolicited bid from Critical Information Group (CIG) as undervaluing the business, Centaur now says CIG, after improving its offer, told it last Thursday it was taking the offer off the table.