United To Unveil Internet Strategy

U.K. television and publishing group United News & Media is Friday expected to outline its Internet strategy – with the move underpinned by a $400 million investment in new media.

It also thought that United, owner of the Daily Express and Star newspapers, could be poised to hive-off its Internet activities into a separate division with a view to flotation.

News of United’s Internet push comes hot on the heels of Thursday’s announcement that business publishing house Reed Elsevier is to plough $1,200 million into developing web portals.

It’s expected that United, which today publishes its annual financial results, will use the occasion to reveal how it is appointing a new management team to spearhead its Internet interest. Those close to the company suggest that a new, but as yet unnamed Internet division, will be formed.

Four key growth areas are likely to be targeted by United. They range from the provision of ISP services and the creation of new business-to-consumer web portals, through to the establishment of vertical business sites from the company’s Miller Freeman activities. The supply of market research data across the Internet will form the fourth plank of its strategy, it’s suggested.

United, headed by chief executive Lord Horlick, is meanwhile under scrutiny by the Competition Commission over its plans to merge with Carlton Communications. If the merger succeeds it will create Britain’s biggest ITV company.

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