Future snaps up industry-leading titles in £140m magazine group takeover

November 4, 2019

Fast-growing Bath media group Future has made its largest acquisition yet, buying Country Life and Chat publisher TI Media in a £140m deal.

The takeover takes Future, whose titles already span hobbies, home entertainment and gadgets, into new areas such as the wine, golf, equestrian, TV listings and gardening while strengthening its position in cycling, consumer technology and country sports. 

London-based TI Media’s print-led consumer magazines encompass 41 brands including Decanter, Country Life, Wallpaper* and Woman & Home. Future described the firm as have a “deep industry heritage”.

The acquisition is the latest in a string of deals by Future which has transformed it from a loss-making UK-based publisher five years ago to profitable international multi-media business.

Last year it paid £100m for US publisher Purch in a deal that added popular US tech and science platforms such as Tom’s Guide, Tom’s Hardware, Space.com and Live Science to its burgeoning US portfolio,

And in August it acquired Washington DC-headquartered digital media publisher SmartBrief for an initial sum of $45m (£37.2m). 

The TI Media deal also triggered another rise in Future’s share price. It soared by more than 11% when it announced last Thursday to a record high of £15.14.

Adding TI Media’s titles to Future’s portfolio takes it to more than 220 brands across the world while also bringing new advertising and e-commerce revenue opportunities, it said.

The deal also brought significant financial benefits, said Future, including ‘materially enhancing’ its earnings in the first full year following completion – which is expected to be next spring.

Cost savings will come in at £15m a year within two years with a significant proportion to be achieved in first full financial year following completion of the acquisition, said Future.

TI Media had revenues of £201.5m and adjusted earnings of £28.7m in the year to May 31. Future is paying cash for the acquisition, partly funding it through Placing announced today and the balance from the £45million accordion facility provided under Future's revolving credit facility.

Future CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne, who is widely viewed as inspiring the group’s transformation, said: “This acquisition provides an outstanding opportunity to accelerate Future’s strategy and to bolster its growth levers. 

“TI Media’s long-established market leading brands, industry events and quality content are an exceptional fit with our business and our strategy. TI Media will substantially expand our presence in existing verticals and bring a number of new content verticals that will significantly enhance the Future portfolio.

“In addition, the largely UK-focused, print-led nature of the TI Media portfolio offers a multiplicity of opportunities to leverage our proprietary technology stack and operating model to develop new digital monetisation models and geographic expansion.

“This deal marks the latest move in our strategy to deliver growth both organically and through acquisition. We are confident that the acquisition will be materially earnings enhancing in the first year, driving further growth in profitability and cash generation whilst significantly enhancing our scale and reach.”

Current TI Media chief finance officer Rachel Addison will join Future as group CFO when the deal is completed.

Future said Rachel would bring a wealth of media experience, having previously held CFO roles in the newspaper industry. She has experience of large-scale integrations, including most recently running the integration of Bath Chronicle publisher Local World and Reach (formerly Trinity Mirror).

Future CFO Penny Ladkin-Brand will start a new role as chief strategy officer when Rachel Addision joins.

Future also said its financial year ended strongly with revenues in the region of £220m. As a result, its directors expect trading to be at the top end their expectations and they remained confident of another strong year in 2020.

 Future’s Media division has titles in the technology, gaming and entertainment, creative and photography, music, home interest, hobbies and B2B sectors with brands such as TechRadar, PC Gamer, Homebuilding & Renovating Show, Guitar World and Space.com

Its Magazine division focuses on publishing specialist content, with 80 publications and around 540 bookazines published each year, totalling global circulation of 1.2m.

The Magazine portfolio spans technology, gaming and entertainment, music, creative and photography, hobbies, home interest and B2B with titles such as Classic Rock, FourFourTwo, Total Film, What Hi-Fi? and Music Week.


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