a media industry resource

United Group: Landmarks


This chronology is indicative only. It covers -

  • Antecedents (1916)
  • Yorkshire Post takeover (1964)
  • United buys Fleet Holdings (1985)
  • UNM established (1995)
  • Sells newspapers (1997)

Context is provided by the broader communications and media timeline on this site.


1868 Exchange & Mart launched by E W Cox

1916 Beaverbrook buys Daily Express

1916 critics of PM Lloyd George buy Daily Chronicle and Lloyd's Weekly News, form United Newspapers

1918 Beaverbrook launches Sunday Express

1927 United Newspapers sold to the Daily Chronicle Investment Group

1928 Inveresk Paper Company gains control of United, which is merged with Provincial Newspapers

1928 Mills & Rockley outdoor advertising group formed in UK Midlands

1929 Daily Chronicle amalgamated with The Daily News to form The Daily News & Chronicle (later The News Chronicle)

1929 sells 50% of News & Chronicle to Pearson's Westminster group

1930 sells rest of News & Chronicle

1933 Elmo Roper & Associates founded in US

1957 National Opinion Polls (NOP) founded

Yorkshire Post takeover

1964 United buys Yorkshire Post Newspaper group

1964 death of Lord Beaverbrook

1965 Mills & Rockley merges with Belfast-based David Allen to form Mills & Allen

1971 property and investment group Trafalgar House buys Cunard Line

1977 Beaverbrook Newspapers bought by Trafalgar House and renamed Express Newspapers

1978 Vavasseur merchant bank renamed Mills & Allen International (MAI)

1982 Trafalgar spins off media and shipping interests as Fleet Holdings

1982 Richard Desmond gains licence for UK edition of Penthouse

1984 Express and Evening Standard photo libraries sold to BBC

United buys Fleet Holdings

1985 United buys 15% stake in Fleet Holdings (inc Express newspapers group and Morgan Grampian group) from Robert Maxwell's Pergamon Press

1986 United gains control of Fleet

1986 Brunton Curtis outdoor advertising formed

1987 MAI subsidiary Mills & Allen merges with London & Continental Advertising Holdings (LCAH)

1988 Brunton Curtis buys carpark in Sydney

1989 United Newspapers sells Daily Express building

1989 The Express moves from Fleet Street to Blackfriars Bridge

1989 DMG sells National Opinion Polls to MAI for £16m

1989 MAI buys MIL Research Group for £33.2m, merges business with NOP

1989 Conrad Black's Hollinger increases holding in United Newspapers to over 5%

1989 MAI merges outdoor advertising interests with Havas, later dilutes stake in joint group to under 15%

1993 United buys ten newspapers from porn czar Richard Desmond

1993 Desmond launches OK!

1994 MAI buys Anglia Television for £292m

1994 United buys stock photo library Visual Communications Group for £27m

1995 MAI buys Pearson's 14.8% holding in Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television for £41.2m

UNM established

1995 United Newspapers changes name to United News & Media

1995 takes 5% stake in Channel 5 television

1995 Trafalgar House sells Ritz hotel to Barclay bros for £75m

1996 United News & Media merges with MAI in deal valued at £3.6bn

1996 sells Tolley publishing to Elsevier for £100m

1996 Sunday Express amalgamated with Daily Express to become The Express

1996 buys Scottish Television's 19.9% stake in HTV for £73.7m

1996 buys exhibitions organiser Blenheim Group

1997 pays £260m for remaining 70.2% of HTV

1997 buys PR News Service (inc PRNewswire) from Tribune

1997 buys US magazine and trade show group Telecom Library for US$130m

Sells newspapers

1997 sells stake in Yorkshire Tyne Tees TV for £100m

1998 sells southern England newspapers for £47.5m

1998 sells United Provincial Newspapers (inc Yorkshire Post) for £360m - subsequently acquired by Johnston

1998 sells Spanish newspapers for £42.75m

1998 sells Garban finance arm

1998 buys Verecom Group publisher and trade show organiser

1998 buys Fematec trade show in Argentina and Sao Paolo Mercofarma trade show in Brazil

1998 buys Stammer and Tecnomedia magazine groups in Italy

1998 buys ProSign trade show in Germany

1999 buys Audits & Surveys Worldwide Inc. for US$42.5m

1999 buys Continuing Medical Education (CME) for US$111m

1999 buys CMP technology media company for US$920m

1999 buys Definitive Stock image library for US$20m

1999 sells UK and French publishing arms of CMP Media to VNU

2000 The Express renamed the Daily Express

2000 United News & Media changes name to United Business & Media

2000 sells Visual Communications Group to Getty Images for US$220m

2000 sells US consumer magazines to Trader Publishing Company for US$520m

2000 increases Channel 5 stake to 35.37%

2000 sells Miller Freeman USA trade show and professional publishing to VNU for US$650m

2000 sells Miller Freeman Europe to Elsevier for £360m

2000 sells Express Newspapers to Desmond's Northern & Shell for £125m

2000 sells television interests to Granada for £1.8bn after collapse of proposed merger with Granada or Carlton

2001 buys Allison-Fisher auto industry data service for US$45m

2001 buys Roper Starch Worldwide for US$88m

2001 buys Kenko Sangyo Shimbun

2003 buys Interior Design Handbook and Space Series market reports from Kenrick Place Media for £1.6m

2003 buys Aprovia UK (construction industry magazines, formerly part of Vivendi) from Cinven and Carlyle for £79m

2005 sells 33% stake in UK digital terrestrial television multiplex operator SDN to ITV plc for £35m

2005 buys medical trade press and other professional healthcare business information services (inc Le Quotidien du Medecin and Le Generaliste) in France from MediMedia

2005 CMP Media buys and

2005 sells NOP World market research business to GfK Aktiengesellschaft for £383m

2005 announces sale of its 35% stake in UK Channel Five Television to RTL for £247m

2005 pays US$56.5m for Light Reading, TechOnLine and Informex online and events business

2005 sells Exchange & Mart and Auto Exchange magazine to Gannett's Newsquest for £50.25m