Future Publishing buys Dennis Publishing, excluding cycling titles

Future Publishing has this morning announced the acquisition of Dennis Publishing, the parent to titles such as Cyclist and Cycling Electric in a deal worth $415/£300 million. The deal does however exclude the cycling titles and key publications such as Expert Reviews.

The move is broadly seen as a tactic to leverage the strong subscriptions business at Dennis Publishing, which makes up 75% of revenues for the group. The acquisition is further designed to bolster an already strong position in the USA; 56% of revenues from Dennis is attributed to this marketplace.

Specifically, the titles now joining Future Publishing include The Week, The Week US, The Week Junior, MoneyWeek, Kiplinger, science & Nature, IT Pro, Computer Active, PC Pro, Minecraft World and fitness title Coach.

A Dennis spokeswoman this morning told CIN: “There are four titles, including Cyclist and Cycling Electric, that will be retained by Exponent via Broadleaf Group, the holding company of Autovia and formerly Dennis. It’s business as usual.”

In its financial year to 31st of December 2020, Dennis reported revenue of £104.8m, up 12% on 2019, and adjusted EBITDA of £20.0m, up 14% on 2019. The steady performance has reached into 2021, despite headwinds in the publishing world from Covid with revenue growth of 16% in the twelve months ended June 2021. Gross assets as at 30 June 2021 were £210 million.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, said: “I am delighted to announce the acquisition of a high-quality portfolio of Dennis’ trusted brands that 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 materially earnings enhancing acquisition is highly complementary to our longstanding ‘US first’ mindset and provides an attractive opportunity to scale our recently created ‘Wealth’ vertical, whilst diversifying our presence in our ‘Knowledge’ and ‘B2B Pro Technology’ verticals.

“I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to Future, and to continuing the successful execution of our strategy to generate long-term sustainable growth and attractive returns for our shareholders.”

James Tye, CEO of Dennis, added: “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. 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.”