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August 16, 2021updated 17 Nov 2023 2:59pm

Future buys The Week publisher Dennis for £300m

By Charlotte Tobitt

Future has bought The Week publisher Dennis from its private equity owner for £300m.

Future said the deal would expand its reach in the US, build on its subscription revenue strategy, and deepen its presence in the wealth, knowledge, and B2B technology verticals.

Future chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne said the deal will “accelerate our strategy, enhance our content capabilities and bring additional geographical and vertical revenue diversification, whilst materially increasing the proportion of recurring revenues across the group”.

The titles included in the deal are: The Week UK / The Week US, The Week Junior UK / The Week Junior US, MoneyWeek, Kiplinger, Science & Nature, IT Pro, Computer Active, PC Pro, Minecraft World, and Coach.

Viz, Fortean Times, Cyclist and Expert Reviews have not been bought by Future and will be retained by Broadleaf Group, the holding company of Autovia which Exponent separated from Dennis earlier this year.

Exponent, which previously created Immediate Media and Gorkana Group, bought out Dennis from the estate of its founder Felix Dennis for an undisclosed sum in 2018.

Dennis chief executive James Tye said: “In the three years that the business has been owned by Exponent, Dennis has been on an incredible growth journey, delivering double-digit increases in subscription revenues, a greatly increased US footprint; and significant bottom-line increases.

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“This is a testament to the talented team at Dennis who have helped make all of this happen. We look forward to working with the team at Future to continue growing the reach, influence and value of all our key brands and businesses.”

[Read more: CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne on the rise and rise of Future as mag giant defies Covid to more than double profits]

Future currently owns 163 brands and 43 in the US. Its brands reach one in three people in the US, it said. Meanwhile around 56% of revenues at Dennis come from the States.

Subscriptions make up around three-quarters of Dennis revenues (up from 40% in 2019) and Future said this would materially increase its recurring revenues in a way that benefits from stability and customer retention.

The Week Junior in the UK has continually posted strong upwards trends in its ABC results. The latest figures, published last week, showed it grew by 18% year-on-year in the first half of 2021 to cross the 100,000 mark. Subscriptions make up 93% of its circulation.

[Read more: Magazine ABCs for Jan-June 2021 as gardening, cooking and children’s titles see biggest growth]

Dennis launched the US version of the title in spring 2020 with the aim of repeating this success.

It also expanded into the US with the acquisition of financial publishing business Kiplinger in 2019.

This has contributed to 16% revenue growth at Dennis in the year to June, it said.

In the financial year to the end of December 2020, Dennis reported revenue of £104.8m, up 12% from the year before and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation up 14% to £20m.

Dennis made almost 70 people, or about 15% of its workforce, redundant last summer after its advertising and events revenues “deteriorated” during the Covid-19 crisis, but it avoided closing any titles unlike many other magazine publishers (including Future).

Future expects it will make £5m in cost synergies per year after the deal’s completion, which is expected at the start of October.

Future already owns titles including Tech Radar, T3, PC Gamer, Computer Music, Cycling News, and many more in the lifestyle and women’s interest sectors.

Only last year Future completed its £140m takeover of TI Media– although it was forced to sell off three titles over competition concerns.

Future revenue growth and acquisition journey:

The deal will push Future into second place in the UK’s consumer magazine market when ranked by annual circulation, overtaking Immediate Media according to Press Gazette’s recent ranking. Bauer Media will continue to dominate by size of readership.

Picture: Future

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