Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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United Newspapers

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of 12, Salisbury Square, London, E.C.

1910 Edward Lloyd’s newspapers were separating from the paper-making side which continued as Edward Lloyd Ltd.

1918 United Newspapers Ltd was formed by a number of men who were associated with David Lloyd George to purchase the newspaper interests of the Lloyd family, the Daily Chronicle and Lloyd's Sunday News.

Several provincial newspapers with Liberal traditions were acquired shortly afterwards, including the Yorkshire Evening News, the Edinburgh Evening News and the weekly Doncaster Gazette.

1927 The Daily Chronicle Investment Corporation acquired the company

1928 The Daily Chronicle Investment Corporation was sold to the Inveresk Paper Co.

1929 The group amalgamated its various provincial newspaper companies to form one new subsidiary, Provincial Newspapers Ltd.

Late 1929 United Newspapers entered a period of financial crisis. The company had huge liabilities, due mainly to the purchase of modern printing plant for the Daily Chronicle, whose trading position was causing anxiety.

1930 As part of the rescue operation the Daily Chronicle was transferred to a new company, in which United Newspapers owned half the shares, and merged with the Daily News to form the News Chronicle.

1931 Lloyd's Sunday News was sold and merged with the Sunday Graphic. This was the end of United Newspapers' association with the Liberal Party. United Newspapers concentrated on its profitable provincial newspaper interests represented by its controlling holding in Provincial Newspapers Ltd.

1936 United Newspapers sold its shares in the News Chronicle for a substantial sum.

1940s A third of the shares in United Newspapers were acquired from Inveresk by investment trusts linked to the Drayton group. Mr Harley Drayton was appointed Chairman of United Newspapers until his death in 1966.

1963-64 The company was re-structured, selling its interests in Hull and Grimsby Newspapers to Associated Newspapers. Acquired the Doncaster Chronicle and merged it with the Doncaster Gazette. Sold the goodwill of the Yorkshire Evening News, to Yorkshire Conservative Newspapers Ltd (publisher of the Yorkshire Post) for shares, giving United Newspapers over 20 per cent of the equity of Yorkshire Conservative Newspapers Ltd. During the same period United Newspapers reached an agreement with Lord Thomson by which it exchanged the Edinburgh News for the Thomson Organisation's two Sheffield papers, the Sheffield Telegraph and The Star.

1964 United Newspapers acquired the West Lancashire Evening Gazette and its associated weekly newspaper series, the Blackpool Gazette and Herald.

1965 Acquired the weekly newspapers, the Wigan Observer and the Chorley Guardian series, were purchased.

1969 Acquired Yorkshire Conservative Newspapers, thus acquiring the Yorkshire Post.

1969 Acquired Bradbury Agnew & Co, publishers of "Punch", the "Countryman" and a group of three farming monthlies.

1972 Acquired Thomas Hutton Ltd, publishers of the Ormskirk Advertiser series of three weekly newspapers.

1980 Publisher of 39 separate titles covering three regions of England: (a) Yorkshire and Humberside; (b) Lancashire (and a part of Greater Manchester); (c) Northampton.

c1985 United Newspapers acquired Express Newspapers Plc, and owned United Provincial Newspapers Limited, United Advertising Publications plc and Miller Freeman Worldwide Plc (specialist in exhibitions).

1996 United Newspapers plc merged with MAI to form United News and Media

Through this merger MAI brought Meridian TV (successful bidder for the ITV franchise for southern England in 1990); Anglia Television Group PLC (acquired by public offer in 1994); Garban Limited and Harlow Butler Broking Services Limited (financial services); and NOP Research Group Limited (NOP) and Mediamark Research Inc (both involved in market research).

1996 Acquired Blenheim Group plc (an exhibitions organizer)

1997/8 Disposed of its regional newspaper interests and acquired HTV Group plc, the commercial television licensee for Wales and the western region of England.

1998 Demerged its financial services businesses as Garban plc

1998 Also decided to regional publishing interests, in order to concentrate on national consumer media.

1999 Acquired CMP Media Inc (CMP), a leading US technology media company

2000 Disposed of Visual Communications Group (a professional images and stock photography business. Sold its ITV interests to Granada. Having decided to focus on business and professional media, sold the Express titles. The company was renamed United Business Media.

By 2005 UBM derived 75 per cent of its revenues from the USA, concentrating largely on directories, technical magazines, exhibitions and trade fairs. It began selling the last of its consumer media properties, including its television stakes. Research businesses such as NOP and the German company GfK were also sold.

Undertook a vigorous acquisition policy in mobile media technology companies


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Competition Commission reports [1] and [2]
  • Campaign (UK) - August 5, 2005