Business Europe, a news and commerce website aimed at the small business sector, is to merge with private equity news site, Venturedome, to create a new company, ICP Europe Publishing. Both businesses, based in the UK, will continue to operate their current brand names. Ian Jindle, chief executive of Business Europe, takes the same role in the new group and says he sees the move as part of the continued consolidation of the business services sector.
Jindle cited the similarities between the two businesses and the cost synergies that arise from this as one of the reasons for the deal. “The two companies are simply stronger together than separate,” he said. ICP Europe Publishing will be an online business publishing company with relevant editorial content. It covers a broader market than previously, which it hopes to extend further, serving companies at all development stages from pre-start-up idea to employing 50 people.
The two companies started talking early last summer. Although the original plan was for Business Europe to add information about start-up funding and venture capital to its service offering, Jingle said he soon realised the companies were a good match for each other.
ICP Europe Publishing, which Jindle describes as a cross between online publishing and marketing services, will focus on connecting brands and users. It will also manage websites for government and commercial organisations (including the British Chambers of Commerce, the Department of Trade and Industry and nPower) serving the SME market. Andrew Neil, the chairman and co-founder of Business Europe and former editor of The Sunday Times, will chair the new company.
Darren Neylon, chief operating officer of the new company and former CEO of Venturedome, said: “The addition of Business Europe’s publishing services expands our offering to the enterprise community… Combined we are now in an excellent position to capitalise on the demand for online business support.”
Business Europe was founded in November 1999 and funded by Ellerman Investments, an investment vehicle backed David and Frederick Barclay, which will be the single largest shareholder in the new group. Venturedome, also established in 1999, currently provides news and information to investors and entrepreneurs, offers portal building services and aims to create a community for those involved in the British private equity market. It received seed funding from Springboard, which together with Ellerman Investments will put new funds into ICP Europe Publishing.