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March 3, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:05am

New Scientist sold for £70m to Daily Mail owner DMGT

By Dominic Ponsford

The New Scientist has been sold to Daily Mail owner DMGT for £70m.

The weekly science magazine and website was owned by a consortium of individual investors led by Sir Bernard Gray.

Editor Emily Wilson told Press Gazette in October how the title had launched newsletters, a podcast, a Youtube series and explored new commercial opportunities online since the global pandemic hit in March.

It has 40 journalists and makes 75% of its revenue from subscriptions.

She said: “The two biggest stories in the world right now are climate change and Covid-19, and they’re both in our wheelhouse. So there genuinely has never been a better time to sign up for science mag.”

Wilson said today: “This is a brilliant next step in New Scientist’s 65-year-long journey towards global (science-related) domination. We are really excited about the new opportunities this move will offer us and we do of course remain 100% editorially independent.”

According to ABC, the New Scientist sells an average of 84,215 print editions per week and 50,111 digital editions (134,326 in total worldwide). About half of its readers are in the UK.

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According to DMGT, the New Scientist is expected to make revenue of £20m this year and an operating profit of £7m.

DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere said: “New Scientist is a world-renowned publication loved by its readers, and we are both thrilled and proud to welcome it to the DMGT family.

“They are a specialised and talented team who showcase the best of science journalism, bringing integrity, curiosity and craftsmanship to their work. We are very much looking forward to supporting their exciting plans to grow as the go-to publication for anyone interested in the scientific world around us.”

New Scientist sold: ‘Well positioned for future growth’

DMGT CEO Paul Zwillenberg said: “The acquisition of New Scientist marks an exciting new addition to the DMGT portfolio and reflects our disciplined approach to acquisitions.

“It is a natural step in our consumer strategy to improve the quality of our revenues through building up subscriptions and digital capabilities. We are committed to supporting the talented team and their plans for the future and are confident that the business is well-positioned for future growth.”

New Scientist was bought by the Bernard Gray team in 2017 from Reed Business Information. The same team previously bought TES in 2005 for £235m from News Corp and then sold it two years later to Charterhouse Capital Partners.

DMGT owns the Mail titles, Metro and the i which it bought from JPI Media in 2019 for £49.6m.

The company has just announced investment to create 20 jobs at the i, which it has committed to keeping editorially separate.

DMGT reported underlying revenue down 10% to £1.2bn and pre-tax profits down 36% on an underlying basis to £72m for the year to September 2020 due to the hit from Covid-19, although revenues at Mail Online grew by 3%.

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