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Future buys US curated news publisher Smartbrief in $65m deal

Future has bought US curated news publisher Smartbrief in a deal worth up to $65m (£53.5m).

Washington-based Smartbrief provides targeted industry news taken from more than 1,500 external sources, which is sent to subscribers via some 250 email newsletters and published online and on mobile.

Future, which owns some 130 brands, from Total Film to PC Gamer and Four Four Two, paid an initial cash sum of $32.2m (£26.5m) for Smartbrief and $12.8m (£10.5m) in shares.

The deal also includes a deferred payment of no more than $20m (£16.5m) based on Smartbrief achieving certain financial targets over the year to the end of July 2020.

The acquisition expands Future’s existing B2B portfolio of about 20 titles, which includes Music Week, and more than triples its subscriber base – adding nearly 6m subscribers.

It opens up new markets for Future and provides access to Smartbrief’s customer relations and email marketing systems as “potential new audience drivers” for its B2C brands, according to an announcement on the deal.

Digital publisher Smartbrief, which was founded in 1999, is said to have stable annual revenues of $35.1m (£29m) and adjusted earnings (EBITDA) of $5m (£4.1m).

Future chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne said: “The acquisition of Smartbrief will substantially boost our presence and market position in the B2B sector and enhance our technology capabilities.

“Smartbrief is a leading, respected provider of sector-focused newsletters and daily email briefings covering a range of key verticals. The addition of Smartbrief’s must-read information products to our portfolio will further extend the reach of our B2B operations.

“The acquisition will be earnings enhancing, and we have identified several exciting opportunities to leverage Smartbrief’s proprietary technology in both our B2C and B2B business.”

The deal is expected to complete tomorrow. In April last year Future bought another US-based B2B publisher, Newbay Media, for $13.8m.

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