Pearson plc, the international media group, has sold its consumer magazine publishing businesses for £142m to a team led by Apax Partners and Co. Ventures Ltd, and comprising Chris Anderson, the founder of Future Publishing, and the current management.
The businesses being sold are UK consumer magazine publisher, Future Publishing Ltd, French computing magazine publisher, Edicorp Publications S.A., and the commercial website, Futurenet. In 1997, these businesses made operating profits of £9.3m on turnover of £81.5m. At 31 December 1997, net assets were £4.5m. Pearson will receive £125m in cash and, in addition, Apax will meet all outstanding deferred consideration payments, estimated at £17m.
Commenting on the disposal, Marjorie Scardino, Pearson's chief executive, said: " As part of the Pearson group, Future and Edicorp have done a fine job and achieved strong growth. This sale allows their management teams to focus on what they do best - produce great consumer magazines. It enables Pearson to concentrate more of our resources on the media businesses where we have, or can build, market-leading positions."
Pearson acquired Future and Edicorp in 1994 and 1996 respectively. Total acquisition costs, including subsequent acquisitions, further funding and all deferred consideration payments, amount to £85m.
In terms of the value of copies sold, Future is the UK's fifth largest consumer magazine publisher. It publishes magazines principally in the computing, music, sports, entertainment and craft sectors. Titles include Official PlayStation, PC Format, Total Film, Total Guitar, Mountain Biking UK and Cross Stitcher. Edicorp is the leading computing magazine publisher in France. Titles include PC Achat, Windows News and Total Play. Futurenet is a dedicated on-line electronic publisher of consumer magazine content.
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