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January 9, 2017

Future buys back Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog magazines for £800k after collapse of Team Rock

By Freddy Mayhew

Future has saved music magazines Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog following the sudden demise of owners Team Rock just days before Christmas.

The publisher has also taken on the Blues online channel, part of the Team Rock website, and the Golden Gods events operation linked to Metal Hammer magazine.

The £800,000 deal has been struck with administrators FRP Advisory who were called in after Team Rock collapsed on 20 December, resulting in 80 staff being made redundant.

Future sold the titles to Team Rock for £10.2m in 2013.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future’s chief executive, said: “The acquisition of these classic rock brands with their associated magazines, events and websites marks a further step in our buy and build strategy.

“It further reinforces our creation of a leading global specialist media platform with data at its heart, which we are monetising through diversified revenue streams.

“We look forward to developing further these iconic and much-loved brands and to continuing to serve their communities of dedicated enthusiasts around the world.”

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Former editorial director Scott Rowley told Press Gazette that Team Rock had been losing £250,000 a month, but that staff were “absolutely not aware” the company was about to fold.

“We were aware that generally the business wasn’t making money, but there was no notice given, no express warnings or anything,” he said in December.

Buyers had been sought for Team Rock, but all fell through, resulting in its investors pulling funding.

A Just Giving page set up by Ben Ward, lead singer of heavy metal band Orange Goblin, to help staff affected by redundancy has so far raised £85,858.

Press Gazette asked Future how many former Team Rock staff will be getting their jobs back.

A spokesperson said: “Seven retained staff have now been transferred. We’re in conversations with people in other key roles today about employment opportunities and over the coming weeks we’ll be looking at optimum levels of ongoing employment.”

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