Future shares soar to record high after it says profits should be much better than expected

February 19, 2021

Shares in rapid-growth Bath media group Future soared above £21 for the first time in its history today as it said its full-year profits are likely to be much higher than expected.

The highly acquisitive group, whose titles span TechRadar, PC Gamer and Country Life, also updated shareholders on its latest deals, including the completion of its £594m takeover of the GoCo, the firm behind the Co Compare insurance comparison website. 

In a trading update to the London Stock Exchange, Future, which earlier this month also acquired fast-growing Australian price comparison website Mozo for A$30m (£16.8m), said it had continued to benefit from high levels of online engagement, notably during Black Friday and Christmas. 

As a result, it said it expected its full-year profitability to be “materially ahead of current market expectations”.

Revenues in its Media division, which spans eCommerce, events and digital advertising in sectors ranging from tech to sports and women’s lifestyle, had grown strongly during the four-month period to January 31, driven by continued momentum in eCommerce and digital advertising, it said.

Its Magazine division, which focuses on publishing specialist content with more than 115 magazines and 410 bookazines, had performed in line with the trends seen last year when £20m of magazine sales were lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, it said following the successful integration of the TI Media business the group was on track to achieve previously announced synergies of £20m. 

Future snapped up the London-based publisher behind 38 brands including Decanter, Country Life, Homes&Garden and Woman & Home last year for £140m.

Its Events business continued to be impacted by cancellations caused by Covid-19 related measures, it told shareholders, although pointing out the business represented only a small portion of its total revenue.

Future chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne said: “I am delighted to report yet another period of growth across the group.

“Following the integration of TI Media, we continue to make good progress against our strategy to build the leading specialist global media platform that drives intent, powered by technology and insight with scalable, diversified brands.

“Price comparison for services is a natural complement in our strategy to enhance and expand our eCommerce proposition and monetisation opportunities beyond product purchase. I am therefore delighted we have now completed the acquisition of GoCo, which we are confident will create substantial value for shareholders.” 

She said the acquisition of Mozo in Australia broadened Future’s price comparison brands to a global reach.

“This will enhance our proposition, bringing together its leading financial services insight with our expertise in customer acquisition and content creation, and is aligned with our strategy to operate globally,” she said.

“We have already started on the integration of both businesses. On behalf of the entire team at Future, I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new colleagues from GoCo and Mozo.

“Following a robust start to the year, we expect full year profitability to be materially ahead of current market expectations. We remain well positioned to continue executing our strategy and delivering on the ongoing growth momentum we have sustained over recent years.”

Future’s share price soared  by more than 10%  in early trading this morning to just over £21 – a new record for the group – before easing back later in the day.


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