Ascential puts 13 Heritage Brands up for sale

By : PPA Communications

Ascential plc is seeking new owners for 13 brands it has grouped into a separate operating entity.

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The Heritage Brands are HSJ, MEED, Drapers, Nursing Times, Local Government Chronicle, Construction News, New Civil Engineer, Ground Engineering, H&V News and RAC, Retail Jeweller, Materials Recycling World, and the architecture titles, including Architects' Journal, The Architectural Review and the associated World Architecture Festival.

Ascential said each provides content to subscribers across ­digital, events, and print, collectively generating revenue of £63m in 2015 (2014: £64m) and £26m in H1 2016 (H1 2015: £29m).

Ascential will report these brands as a separate segment for its 2016 financial year, the results of which are due to be announced on February 27 2017.

As a result of on­going discussions, the Ascential board now considers a sale of the segment to be highly probable and has therefore reclassified it as a discontinued operation.

At its interim results on August 1 2016, Ascential announced that print advertising reduced to £9m in the 12 months to June 30 2016 (or less than 3% of group revenue). The Heritage Brands accounted for more than 90% of that total.

Duncan Painter, CEO of Ascential, said: "Ascential's growth strategy continues to be to focus its resources and investment on its largest brands and those with the highest growth potential.

"Our top five products represented 56% of Group revenue and 71% of Adjusted EBITDA in the 12 months to June 30 2016. This move will further focus our portfolio on our largest-market leading products.

"The Heritage Brands, with large, loyal audience communities, provide an exciting opportunity for new owners."

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