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Haymarket sells gadget magazine Stuff to Kelsey Media

Gadget magazine Stuff has been sold to independent publisher Kelsey Media.

Haymarket Media Group, which owned Stuff since 1999, said the brand needs a new home where it can “really achieve its potential” after changes to the company’s strategic focus.

Haymarket chief executive Kevin Costello said: “Stuff is a truly iconic brand, trusted by its tech-loving followers to entertain, educate and inspire.

“It’s been a big part of the Haymarket story, but our strategic focus has shifted and Stuff needs a new home where the brand can really achieve its potential.

“I’m delighted to have come to an agreement with Kelsey – they’re a fast-growing media business which really understands the power of specialist consumer media.”

According to the latest ABC figures for 2017, Stuff has an average circulation of 54,492, down 3 per cent year-on-year and down ten per cent since the end of 2015.

In May Stuff print editor Rob Leedham left the magazine to join GQ as engagement editor. His replacement, James Day, was technology editor at the Metro before moving to Little Red Rooster PR as a director in 2015.

A source close to the magazine said: “In two and a half years Stuff has lost two editors of the magazine, the deputy editor of the magazine, the editor of the website, the deputy editor of the website, the contributing editor, news editor, features editor, a staff writer, a sub editor, an art director and a designer.

“Wherever they’re going, they won’t need a very big office.”

However Stuff global brand director Guy Cocker told Press Gazette: “Stuff is the biggest technology media brand in the world, with a magazine that outsells every other title in the sector and a brand that’s licensed in six countries.

“The team will be relocating from Twickenham to Waterloo in September, bringing us even closer to the PRs, agencies and tech companies based in the city.”

Haymarket announced in March that it was selling five of its specialist titles – Stuff, What Hi-Fi?, Four Four Two, Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome – to Future Publishing in a deal worth £14m.

However Future later ditched the plans to buy Stuff after carrying out initial discussions with the Competition and Markets Authority.

The publisher already owns two technology magazine brands in T3 and Techradar, which could have raised media plurality concerns.

Future nonetheless completed its planned buyout of the other four titles for £13m in May.

Costello said Haymarket’s growth plan was now focused on the publisher’s motoring brands and on growing its B2B portfolio by creating more paid content.

He said: “Haymarket’s growth plan is increasingly focused around several clear investment themes. Firstly, building out our peerless position in consumer motoring media, developing a strong ecommerce offer for the millions of new and used car buyers loyal to What Car?, Autocar and Pistonheads.

“And secondly, driving growth across our UK and international B2B portfolio – through innovative paid content, live and digital transactional models – as well as developing our client-facing content marketing agency. We’re seeing growing momentum in all these areas.”

Haymarket continues to own more than 60 B2B and consumer brands in the UK and internationally, including PR Week, Windpower Monthly and GP Online.

Kelsey Media also owns more than 60 multi-media brands falling under the categories of lifestyle, fitness, performance motoring, classic motoring, commercial vehicle and specialist.

Chief executive Steve Wright said: “Stuff was there at the start of the tech revolution and it’s inspired several generations of passionate tech-loving consumers since.

“I’m delighted that the Stuff team will be joining Kelsey and we’ll be working together to inspire the next generation of gadget fiends.”

Cocker added that the current team can be contacted at stuff@haymarket.com and includes online editor Natalya Paul, art editor Ross Presly, production editor Richard Purvis, reviews editor Verity Perry, staff writer/sub-editor Ryan Jones, Hot Stuff editor Matt Tate, commercial manager Natalie Carter and account manager Lindsey Dobson.

 

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