Centaur Media Plc sells financial services division to Metropolis

centaur-logoCentaur Media has sold its financial services division to Metropolis Group for £5 million.

The disposal follows Centaur’s decision last October to explore the divestment of its smaller businesses in order to simplify the Group’s structure and to focus management resources on its leading brands.

Metropolis has paid £5 million in cash for the division sold. Centaur will consider the best use for the proceeds following the completion of its divestment review.

Centaur’s financial services division comprises a portfolio of leading multi-channel publishing and content brands, including Money Marketing, Mortgage Strategy, Platforum, Taxbriefs and Headline Money. These brands generate advertising and other revenue by serving a range of audience segments within the financial services industry, including financial advisers, mortgage brokers, accountants and asset managers.

Andria Vidler, Chief Executive of Centaur, said, “This disposal continues the simplification of Centaur, further reducing our advertising exposure and allowing us to focus on developing products and services with stronger recurring revenues. A simpler group structure will allow us to deliver efficiencies and other operational benefits.

“Our financial services portfolio which includes Money Marketing has played a key role in the development of Centaur over the years, and I want to thank the teams for all their hard work. I am pleased that Metropolis sees the potential to develop the business further.”

Robert Marr, Chief Executive of Metropolis Group, added, “The acquisition continues the development of Metropolis and aligns with our vision of delivering sustainable profitable futures for well-managed media brands. We look forward to working together with the financial services team to further develop these long-standing market-leading brands.”

For the year ended 31 December 2018, Centaur’s financial services business made an adjusted operating profit of £1.2m, up from £0.6m in 2017, on revenues of £8.2m (2017: £8.9m). At 31 December 2018, the business had gross assets of £2.3m.

UK, London

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Future plc acquires Cycling News and Procycling

Future plcFuture plc has acquired two specialist consumer brands from Immediate Media: Co – CyclingNews.com and Procycling Magazine. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 1995, Cycling News has a brand reach of over 3.3 million and is, says Future, the world’s biggest pro-cycling website. Procycling launched in 1999 and publishes 13 print issues annually.

Future says it is dedicated to building specialist brands and that Cyclingnews and Procycling perfectly complement its consumer hobbies portfolio. According to Future, the cycling market is set to grow from £2.6bn to over £3bn by 2020. Public interest in professional cycling in the UK has grown during the past decade, buoyed by the success of Team GB and Team Sky during this period. With each of the Grand Tours of 2018 being won by British riders, the emerging success of Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates has further driven interest and enthusiasm for cycling within the UK. This has also been reflected in a good underlying trend in the UK cycling retail market, which has seen strong growth over this period and is forecast to continue to grow towards £3.0bn by 2020.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, said, “The acquisition of these brands will expand our presence in the sport and outdoor leisure vertical and is a clear demonstration of our strategy to leverage enduring content on our technology platform to further diversify our revenue streams. Cycling News and Procycling are respected brands with leading market positions that will complement our existing portfolio whilst extending our reach into new adjacent communities. These brands are leading worldwide voices on professional cycling, offering analysis, insight, gorgeous photography and exclusive interviews with the industry greats.

“We have a proven methodology and track record of integration and we are confident that this deal will drive further growth in operating profitability and cash generation. You may remember that these brands were originally published by Future before we sold them to Immediate in 2014. Buying them back is a special moment for us to honour a piece of our heritage and a fantastic opportunity to expand our portfolio into the world of cycling.”

UK, London

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Immediate Media acquires Upper Street Events

Immediate MediaImmediate Media Co, the special interest content and platform company, is to acquire Upper Street Events Ltd, one of the UK’s leading producers of consumer enthusiast events. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Upper Street Events is a specialist producer of over 15 events a year at the heart of the UK’s art & design, craft, cycling, dance and specialist travel scene. The acquisition of Upper Street significantly strengthens Immediate’s strategic audience development capabilities. The alignment of the special interest events, such as craft, with Immediate’s existing portfolio of brands, should create future growth opportunities.

Immediate reaches over 22 million UK consumers monthly across a range of special interest sectors, including food, cycling, parenting, weddings and craft. In the craft sector alone, Immediate reaches four million active crafters every month across its current content platforms.

Immediate Media CEO Tom Bureau said, “The acquisition of Upper Street Events is a further step in Immediate’s multiplatform transformation complementing our strategy of focusing on special interest content and communities. We see significant opportunities for growth and development in the events space, both in the markets Upper Street already operate in and with our portfolio of market-leading brands. This deal enhances our ability to offer our consumers world class content, products, services and experiences, across print, digital and live events.”

UK, London

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Exponent acquires Dennis Publishing

Exponent PEExponent is to acquire Dennis Publishing, a multi-platform international media group which owns several award-winning brands including its flagship title, The Week.

Initial reports from Sky News suggested Exponent could pay between £150m and £200m, with The Week alone valued at around £100m, although the final amount was unconfirmed.

Dennis is a leading consumer media and e-commerce organisation, based in London and New York. Its portfolio consists of over 30 brands across four main areas of focus: Current Affairs, Technology, Automotive and Special Interest. In addition to The Week, it is home to several well-known brands including MoneyWeek, The Week Junior, BuyACar.co.uk, Auto Express, CarBuyer, Computer Active, Alphr.com, Cyclist and Viz, among others. Across all its brands it reaches over 50 million readers and sells over 2.5 million magazines every month.

Dennis is the first investment to be made from Exponent’s fourth fund, Exponent Private Equity Partners IV, LP.

Commenting on the acquisition, David McGovern of Exponent, said, “Dennis is a unique, innovative and dynamic publishing and e-commerce business. We believe that there is a significant opportunity to grow both its print and digital platforms, which will allow it to reach and engage even more readers and customers. Exponent is delighted to back James Tye and his team. We look forward to combining their expert knowledge with our own deep experience in consumer media and e-commerce to help further develop Dennis’ strong market positions and build on Felix Dennis’ legacy.”

Dick Pountain, on behalf of the Executors of the Felix Dennis estate, said, “The Executors of Felix Dennis’ estate are delighted to agree the sale of Dennis Publishing to Exponent. We see Exponent as excellent partners for Dennis; their track record in media is extremely strong and we have confidence in their ability to continue to grow the size and reputation of the company that Felix created almost 50 years ago.

The proceeds of this sale go to the Heart of England Forest (HoEF), a charity which Felix established during his lifetime. This endowment will enable the charity to create Felix’s ambitious vision – planting and maintaining the largest contiguous, broadleaf woodland for public enjoyment that the UK has seen in a century. The sale ensures not just a bright future for all involved but will create a lasting and important legacy for future generations.”

UK, London

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Future to acquire Purch’s consumer division for $132.5M

Future plcGlobal specialist media platform Future plc is to acquire the consumer division of Purch, the next generation digital publishing and marketplace platform, operating in the consumer technology and science verticals. The deal will see Future acquire Purch’s publisher services division (ad sales) along with the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) group in a deal worth over $132 million.

The acquisition will give Future a leading position in consumer technology publishing in the U.S. Purch has successfully grown its digitally-led business and generates more than $1 billion annually in facilitated commerce through its tech, shopping, lifestyle and SMB brands, including Tom’s Guide, Tom’s Hardware, Top Ten Reviews, ShopSavvy and Business.com.

Future CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne said, “Future’s mission to be a technology-enabled global platform for specialist media takes another big step forward today with this announcement. I’ve been impressed by the strength of Purch’s technology platforms and the expertise of its people. Together we can build a combined organization that has scale and growth opportunities ahead. The two businesses share similar cultures – we both share our audiences’ passion, we’re data-driven, ambitious and both have an innovative mindset. From day one Future will be number one in the U.S. consumer technology sector, and beyond this we see clear opportunities for combined growth.”

UK, London & US, San Francisco, CA

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Anthem Publishing acquires Women’s Running magazine

AnthemAnthem Publishing has acquired the multi-award-winning Women’s Running magazine from Wild Bunch Media. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Women’s Running launched in 2010, and was named Consumer Magazine of the Year 2011 and Consumer Media Brand of the Year 2015 at the PPA Independent Publisher Awards, as well as winning four other industry awards. It’s the UK’s only running title dedicated to helping women enjoy and improve their running. The deal includes the Women’s Running website which has over 90,000 unique users per month, as well as the Facebook community of some 220,000 followers. The purchase does not affect Men’s Running, which remains a Wild Bunch Media brand.

Anthem CEO Jon Bickley said, “We’re delighted to bring Women’s Running on board at Anthem to join our emerging group of women’s wellness brands. Women’s Running is a title I’ve admired for many years for its powerfully strong editorial proposition and the unique relationship it enjoys with its readers and advertisers. We can’t wait to immerse ourselves in this market and bring the same levels of investment and focus to it that have proved successful with our own titles such as Vegan Food & Living and Colouring Heaven.”

UK, Bath & London

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Media 10 acquires Pro Publishing Media & Events

Media 10Media 10 has acquired Pro Publishing Media & Events Ltd, originally founded by Clara Perry in 2007. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquisition will bolsters Media 10’s offering within the kitchen and bathroom sector. Brands include luxury consumer magazine Utopia Kitchen & Bathroom, trade magazine Designer Kitchen & Bathroom, and the Designer Kitchen & Bathroom Awards event. Digital brands kb-eye.com and kb-network.co.uk also form part of the portfolio, as well as The d List, the Designer Guides and the Utopia Supplements.

All brands will continue to be headed up and managed by Perry under a directorship role of the newly formed kitchen and bathroom division at Media 10 Ltd.

Media 10 CEO Lee Newton said, “With over a million people visiting our events each year from both the trade and consumer markets, we are delighted to be able to join forces with Clara and her excellent team; this partnership puts us in a unprecedented position where all products can take advantage of each other’s strengths to continue to build strong brands across all media platforms within the kitchen and bathroom industry.”

UK, Loughton & Colchester