Informa recently acquired UBM and Penton as part of its strategy to expand in North America and Asia.
Informa's oldest business started in 1734 when Lloyd's List, now one of the world's oldest continuously running journals, began covering London shipping news.
Informa itself was created in 1998 by the merger of IBC Group plc and LLP Group plc. Since then Informa has expanded considerably, including a 2004 merger with the publishing company Taylor & Francis and a 2005 acquisition of IIR Holdings, a human capital development company, for £768 million. In October 2006, the company was approached by Springer Science and Business Media in a takeover bid, but in early November the Informa board rejected the 630p per share offer as too low.
In early 2007, chairman Richard Hooper announced his retirement in May and, after consulting with major shareholders, the company moved chief executive Peter Rigby to chairman, and managing director David Gilbertson to Rigby's former post. Informa explained Rigby's move by the need to maintain management stability, although it generated some controversy because it did not follow the advice of the UK's Combined Code on Corporate Governance.
On 1 May 2009 the company announced that it would be restructure its business so it was incorporated in Jersey but tax resident in Switzerland.
The discontinued domain Informaworld provided subscribers with more than half a million journal articles and 13,000 e-books from all its imprints. In June 2011 the journals and e-books transferred to a new website, Taylor & Francis Online. Abstracting and indexing databases and bibliographic databases were to move from Informaworld to Taylor & Francis Online at a later date.
In December 2013, Informa acquired the assets of Elsevier Business Intelligence (EBI) from Reed Elsevier. The EBI business unit includes such publications as The Pink Sheet, The Gray Sheet, IN VIVO, Start-Up, and the Strategic Transactions database along with a series of notable conferences. The EBI assets combined with Scrip, Datamonitor and several other publications formed the newly created Pharma Intelligence division of Informa Business Information.
In January 2014, Stephen Carter became CEO of Informa plc. In September 2017, Informa announced that it would be acquiring Dove Medical Press.
In January 2018, Informa announced its intent to acquire UBM plc. The transaction was completed in June 2018.
In 2019, Informa sold the former UBM Life Sciences to MJH Associates. Later in 2019, Informa traded it Agriculture Intelligence unit to IHS Markit in exchange for most of IHS Markit's Technology, Media and Telecoms division. Also in 2019, Informa sold the former Penton design & engineering, manufacturing, energy, buildings, and commercial vehicle divisions, and the former UBM Automotive, to Endeavor Business Media.
On 5 February 2020, Informa launched Omdia by consolidated its portfolio of market analyst companies, Ovum Ltd, Heavy Reading, Tractica, and the majority of IHS Markit's technology, media and telecommunications research business, into a unified brand. The combined research offering includes more than 400 analysts and consultants covering 150 technology markets. Collectively, Omdia issues over 3,000 research reports annually.
Informa is organized into five operating divisions: Informa Connect, Informa Intelligence, Informa Markets, Informa Tech, and Taylor & Francis.