Dennis US sale to boost UK group's core market

The sale of Dennis’s US operations could bring a boost to its UK titles, according to the chief executive of its British operations.

The sale of Maxim, Blender and Stuff to a private equity firm for a reported $240m (£121m) would ‘potentially give the company more flexibility to perhaps acquire and launch more aggressively than previously,’according to Dennis UK CEO James Tye.

Tye said that expected acquisitions would come from its core markets of men’s lifestyle, gambling and IT.

He predicted 10 per cent of its turnover would come from digital by the end of this year and the company was still considering development on all platforms. ‘It’s much more likely we would acquire print and launch online,’he added.

Tye said that the company had six projects ‘in queue’and was working to create a balanced approach to its long-term strategy between projects with a lengthy gestation period and the quick-fire, web-based launches favoured by its new Project Badger team.

Project Badger, led by former Dennis Interactive editorial director Mathew Toor, uses the so-called skunk works approach of delivering rapid, low-cost websites through an offshoot of the main publishing company. It will build sites which are then turned over to the main company.

The US sale, to Quadrangle Capital Partners, does not include the American version of The Week, but signals the end of Dennis’s decade-long publishing foray into the US, which started with the launch of Maxim in 1997.

Maxim UK will now become a licensee of Quadrangle. Tye insisted the lad’s mag had a future, pointing out that it had one million unique users online last month. ‘How can the lads’ mags be dying if our web traffic is going through the roof?’he said.

The US market had been a very different model to work in, said Tye. ‘The US market is more advertising driven. A subscription in the US is much cheaper than in the UK, but their advertising is much higher.

‘We have a more balanced approach in the UK; high reader and advertising incomes rather than depending on one or the other.”

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