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Sale of DC Thomson magazine arm Aceville saves about 30 jobs

DC Thomson acquired Aceville's almost 40 magazine brands in 2018.

By Charlotte Tobitt

Some magazines and jobs have been saved at DC Thomson’s magazine arm Aceville with its sale to specialist publisher Enthuse Group.

About 30 jobs and at least 12 print and online brands at Aceville have been saved by the deal, which went through at the weekend. Currently Aceville’s website says it publishes 34 magazines and 35 websites in the crafts, lifestyle and food, education and business sectors.

It comes about two months after DC Thomson revealed plans to cut 300 jobs, half of which would have come from closing all of Aceville’s print titles.

Enthuse’s chairman and co-founder Owen Davies said: “We have been working night and day together with DC Thomson to try and find a way of saving at least some of the Aceville business.

“I realise that our expectation of only saving around 30 jobs is a small consolation to all people affected by the closure and we will continue to discuss all options in consultation with employees. What I can assure those people who do come to work for Enthuse is that we are a lively, innovative business that knows how to make the best of their talents and experience.”

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Scottish publisher DC Thomson bought Colchester-based Aceville in 2018, saying it fit its plan to transform “from traditional magazine publishers to multimedia content creators and distributors”. But the Aceville subsidiary, with around 150 employees, is understood to have been loss-making since the acquisition with revenue of £10m in 2022, as first reported by media industry blog Flashes and Flames.

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Aceville’s brands include Sew, Natural Health, Health & Wellbeing, Grow Your Own, Let’s Knit and Crafts Beautiful but it is not yet clear which magazines will be saved as part of the Enthuse deal.

Davies, co-founded Enthuse in 2006 with a buyout of six hobby magazines from Highbury House Communications, of which he was formerly group finance director. He has also previously worked in the same role at the now-defunct Northcliffe Media regional group and managing director of its parent company DMGT’s new media division.

Enthuse says it has a “strong track record of acquiring from larger operators”, adding on its website: “We operate a flexible and scalable model that enables acquired brands, large and small, to integrate with the wider group.”

A spokesperson for DC Thomson said: “We are pleased to announce that we have accepted an offer from Enthuse Group to purchase the titles previously published by Aceville. Colleagues will transfer to Enthuse with immediate effect, and we will be working with the purchasing company over the coming months to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.”

DC Thomson is also closing some of its own magazine titles based in Dundee: Platinum, a monthly magazine for women aged over 55 that launched in 2019, free luxury lifestyle quarterly Living, teen girls’ magazine Shout, and children’s magazines Animal Planet and Animals and You.

It is also making redundancies in its newsrooms, with about 50 expected to lose their jobs from the Press and Journal, Courier and Sunday Post Scottish newspaper titles. Some restructuring of the teams, including editor changes at the Press and Journal and Sunday Post, have already taken place.

The cuts are being made in an attempt to fill a £10m gap in the DC Thomson finances, with a spokesperson saying: “By resetting DC Thomson’s media business we can focus on the communities which have potential for sustainable growth.” The company had said in its 2021/22 accounts it experienced “increased direct costs with raw materials and consumables up by £8m” or approximately 15%.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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  • COO
  • CFO
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  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
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  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
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