Arrow buys Hearst’s technical media assets – who’ll buy UBM’s?

It was announced yesterday that Arrow Electronics has purchased Hearst publishing’s United Technical Publications, which includes 16 engineering web sites, e-newsletters, inventory access tools and databases. The deal gives Arrow a powerful electronics B2B content marketing platform to reach a claimed 1 million engineering professionals worldwide. Trade magazine Electronic Products is part of the deal.

Electronic Products magazine cover Feb 2015

Electronic Products Magazine – is Arrow’s ownership the final nail in the coffin of editorial independence

The move begs the question of where UBM’s EE Times, EDN and other media outlets might end up. It’s clear from presentations given by UBM executives to investors last year that the company has no interest in B2B publishing. The firm’s entire focus is on events and PR Newswire. What feels like weekly shedding of publishing staff is clear evidence of this strategy playing out. Will Avnet step up to the challenge, or perhaps World Peace Group, which has quietly been emerging from its Taiwan base to start grabbing market share in North America?

And what about editorial independence? What chance does Avnet have of contributing press releases technical articles, blog posts and opinion pieces to an Arrow-owned Electronic Products web site or magazine. The same issue arises for other distributors and any component or equipment manufacturer that Arrow doesn’t represent. And will the ex-Hearst outlets still carry advertisements from Digi-Key, the distributor that has almost single-handedly ensured the survival of many trade media titles in recent years?

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.




By |2016-10-24T10:54:13+00:00February 18th, 2015|

About the Author:

Bob founded Publitek in 1998. He has over 25 years’ experience in running technology PR and marketing communications agencies, following earlier careers in broadcast engineering and electronic component marketing. Bob read Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Bangor, Wales, and has an MA in Marketing. He was elected a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing in 1996 and in 2015 was named as one of "The 100 most influential tech agency PR executives globally" by the Hot Topics community of technology leaders.


  1. Patrick Mannion February 18, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Putting aside the issue of ‘editorial independence’ for a minute, this is a really good match. Products are at the root of everything we do in this space and no one is better at products than Hearst’s UTP group. Hands down. For Arrow to snap them up makes great sense, given their added expertise in tools (EEWeb) and content marketing. The latter will help Arrow get a leg up here, while the UTP database of engineers can be the foundation of a great ‘marketing engine’.
    Smart move, now the question is will there be a ‘land grab’ for the remaining independent outlets: who’s the best match up? Electronic Design with Digi-Key? UBM with Avnet or WPG? Should be interesting.

  2. Bill Schweber February 23, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Humbling reality check for those of us in the electronics-related B2B media: The Hearst UTP sale was such a tiny “pimple” in the bigger Hearst operation that there was no mention of the sale in the Wall Street Journal, or even in publications such as Folio Magazine which cover media happenings. For the bigger media world, It was an inconsequential non-event. Maybe we need a swimsuit edition? The Sports Illustrated issue hit the same week as the Hearst UTP sale, and it sucked up all the attention oxygen in the room!

  3. Bob Jones February 23, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Bill, we are indeed a tiny part of the universe – even in publishing!

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