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Future completes £13m buyout of four magazines from Haymarket but ditches Stuff after talks with competition watchdog

By Charlotte Tobitt

Future Publishing has ditched plans to buy Stuff magazine from Haymarket Media Group after initial discussions with the UK’s competition watchdog.

Nonetheless the magazine publisher has completed its planned buyout of four of Haymarket’s other specialist consumer titles: What Hi-Fi?, Four Four Two, Practical Caravan, and Practical Motorhome.

The four magazines together generated revenue of £9.6m in the last financial year to June 2017, Future said.

The deal, which was originally worth £14m, has been reduced to up to £13m after the removal of technology and lifestyle magazine Stuff.

In a statement, Future said it had decided not to pursue the acquisition of Stuff after talks with the Competition and Markets Authority.

The CMA told Press Gazette it would not comment on the merger because it did not launch an official investigation into it, however Future already owns two technology magazine brands in T3 and Techradar magazines, which could have raised media plurality concerns within this sector.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, chief executive of Future, said of deal in March: “This acquisition is a further demonstration of our strategy to develop evergreen content that connects with communities and further diversifies our revenue streams.

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“These titles are well established brands with strong market positions that expand and enhance our presence in existing verticals and extend our reach into new communities.

“We have a track record in integrating and leveraging acquisitions and we are confident that this deal will be earnings enhancing and drive further growth in operating profitability and cash generation.”

Last month Future also bought out B2B publisher Newbay in a deal worth $13.8m.

Newbay owned 49 B2B brands in the television, video, entertainment, technology and music sectors mostly in the US, but including Music Week, Toy News and Bike Biz in the UK.

The buyout took the total number of Future brands above 100.

The publisher also owns Total Film, PC Gamer, Edge and SFX. The publisher bought back music magazines Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog following the demise of owners Team Rock in late 2016.

The publisher had previously sold them to Team Rock for £10.2m in 2013.

Haymarket continues to publish more than 60 titles, including Campaign, PR Week and What Car? magazines.

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