Centaur Media (LSE: CAU) is a London-based business information, events and marketing provider to professional and commercial markets. It currently operates through two segments: Xeim (marketing and communications), and The Lawyer. It was formed in 1981 by Graham Sherren, and is incorporated as a public limited company.
Number of employees
Centaur Media was traditionally associated with B2B print magazines such as Marketing Week, The Engineer and The Lawyer on a controlled circulation model. In the words of previous CEO Geoff Wilmot: "We're publishing the titles on behalf of the advertisers but maintaining editorial integrity. Our revenues came from display advertising, classified adverts and recruitment."
In 2011, Wilmot, who became CEO from 2006, described Centaur Media as a company in a process of change, both structurally and in relation to the emergence of digital media. “We used to describe ourselves as a federation of small businesses. Somebody once said: 'It's more like an archipelago of businesses with a lot of water in between.'" He added that the company's old structure of a series of small businesses "supported a strong entrepreneurial culture, but the downside of that was large parts of the company were not talking to each other, and not using each other's strengths". In this period, Centaur Media embarked on a restructuring programme after the recession, with investment in its exhibition and information arms.
Wilmot left Centaur in June 2013 along with the managing director of the business publishing division, Tim Potter, with Wilmot shelving a bid to take over the business in October 2013.
Andria Vidler becomes CEOEdit
This sense of transition in Centaur Media continued after the appointment of Andria Vidler as CEO in November 2013. According to an article in The Guardian from August 2014, Vidler inherited a pre-tax loss of £37.4 million in the year to the end of June 2013 and, by year end, debt had grown to £27 million. Vidler said: “I like taking on sleeping giants or businesses with real potential. Letting them make the most of themselves. You walk into businesses that are less sexy and you leave them looking much sexier.”
Under her leadership, Centaur embarked on a strategy of becoming what Vidler termed "one of the UK’s leading B2B business information groups", moving away from “a reliance on tactical trade advertising”. This has meant a greater emphasis on information-led digital subscription products. Such an approach was summarised by Neil Johnson, chairman of Centaur Media in March 2018: "[Centaur Media] has invested in building an outstanding portfolio of business intelligence products that helps its clients by providing valuable information, analytics and insight, allowing them to maximise the value of this through advisory services, media channels and events to help connect with their customers."
By 2017, Centaur Media's revenue mix was: marketing services 8%; events 42%; digital premium content 24%; digital advertising 14%; and print 10%. In 2014, digital advertising and print had accounted for 15% and 24%, respectively.
Vidler oversaw a disposal process in 2018-19 that saw Centaur Media divest its financial services division, Centaur Human Resources and engineering portfolio, raising more than £20 million.
In September 2019, Centaur Media announced that Vidler was stepping down as CEO, with former CFO Swag Mukerji succeeding her.
The company's senior executive management comprises: Swag Mukerji (CEO); Linda Smith (Chief Operating Officer); Howard Chapman (interim CFO); Steve Newbold (Divisional Managing Director, Marcomms Division); Suki Thompson (CEO and Founding Partner of Oystercatchers); and Andy Baker (Divisional Managing Director, Legal Division).
Centaur Media shifted its location from Fitzrovia to London's South Bank in December 2019.
Xeim: Centaur Media marketing and creative brandsEdit
Recent acquisitions, disinvestments and rebrandsEdit
In July 2017, Centaur Media announced the acquisition of MarketMakers, a UK B2B marketing services business, for £13.4 million. However, in July 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Centaur announced it was to close the MarketMakers business, with only its sister company, Really B2B, retained.
Home Interest divisionEdit
In July 2017, Centaur Media sold its Home Interest portfolio to Future for £32 million, including Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living and Real Homes.
On 21 September 2016, Centaur Media acquired brand consultancy company Oystercatchers for £3.35 million.
On 22 January 2019, Centaur Media announced that it had brought its various marketing business under the name Xeim (derived from the term 'Excellence in marketing'), including Creative Review, Design Week, Econsultancy, Marketing Week and Oystercatchers.
Financial services divisionEdit
On 1 April 2019, Centaur Media announced that it had sold its financial services division, including Money Marketing, Mortgage Strategy, Platforum, Taxbriefs and Headline Money, to Metropolis Group for £5 million cash.
Centaur Media Travel and Meetings LimitedEdit
On 10 April 2019, Centaur Media announced that it had agreed the sale of Centaur Media Travel and Meetings Limited, owner of the Business Travel Show and The Meetings Show, to Northstar Travel Media UK Limited for £9.25 million. The sale was expected to be completed by 30 April 2019.
Centaur Human Resources LimitedEdit
On 16 April 2019, it was reported that Centaur Media had agreed the sale of Centaur Human Resources, which includes Employee Benefits, Employee Benefits Live, Employee Benefits Connect and Forum For Expatriate Management, to DVV Media International for a £5 million cash consideration. Completion of the disposal was expected to take place on 30 April 2019.
Festival of Marketing expandsEdit
On 1 May 2019, Xeim, Centaur Media's marketing division, announced that its annual Festival of Marketing would henceforth incorporate two previously standalone events, Marketing Week Live and The Insight Show. Festival of Marketing evolved to become a digital event in 2020, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 9 May 2019, Centaur Media entered into a conditional agreement to sell its engineering portfolio, including The Engineer and the Subcon show, to Mark Allen Group for a £2.5 million cash consideration. The transaction was expected to complete by 31 May 2019.
- "Xeim: Excellence in marketing". Centaur Media. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
- "The Lawyer". Centaur Media. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
- "Centaur's ancient history is no bar to quiet revolution". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
- "Former Centaur chief executive Geoff Wilmot shelves bid to take publisher back into private hands – Press Gazette". www.pressgazette.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
- Sweney, Mark (2014-08-24). "Andria Vidler: 'I like taking on sleeping giants or businesses with real potential'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
- "Centaur Media Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2017" (PDF). 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- "Swag Mukerji succeeds Andria Vidler as CEO". Centaur Media. 2019-09-04. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
- "Centaur Media moves to a new office location". Centaur Media. 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
- "Centaur spends £13.4m on telemarketing business after selling off home interest magazines – Press Gazette". www.pressgazette.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
- "Preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2020". Centaur Media. 2021-03-17. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
- "Centaur sells Home Interest division to Future, buys MarketMakers". Retrieved 2018-08-24.
- Centaur Media plc ("Centaur") Acquisition of specialist marketing consultancy Oystercatchers, 21 September 2016, investis.com. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "Centaur Media marketing division rebrands as Xeim". Centaur Media. 2019-01-22. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
- "Centaur sells financial services division to Metropolis". Centaur Media. 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
- Kemp, Kenny (2019-04-10). "The Lawyer magazine group sells its travel and meetings arm". businessInsider. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
- "Centaur sells HR business to DVV Media International | Conference News". www.conference-news.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
- Reporters, Marketing Week (2019-05-01). "Festival of Marketing expands to incorporate Marketing Week Live and The Insight Show". Marketing Week. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
- "The Festival of Marketing goes digital!". Centaur Media. 2020-07-09. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
- "Centaur agrees sale of engineering portfolio to Mark Allen Group". Centaur Media. 2019-05-09. Retrieved 2019-05-09.