What else could today’s lead story be? Future’s rise and rise continues with the acquisition of the vast majority of Dennis, the publisher of our favourite magazines The Week and The Week Junior. As Colin Morrison points out, that £300 million in cash is a lot to drop in one go – but when you have Future’s ambition and the opportunity to buy Dennis’ assets the acquisition makes total sense.
The deal – which doesn’t include Dennis’ automotive assets which already went earlier in the year, or a handful of other titles – is in service of Future’s North American expansion plans. We have some reticence about that, as going too big too fast was what caused Future’s past problems, but it must be said that Dennis’ e-commerce and financial expertise could act as a springboard it didn’t have last time.
There are still many questions about the deal, from what role the Pro suite of titles will play to what this says about media plurality in the UK. But one thing’s for sure – this huge deal changes the landscape of UK magazine publishing forever.
Oh and speaking of huge acquisitions that will forever change the media landscape – talks between Politico and Berlin-based Axel Springer also include the possibility of a full buyout. And since these things tend to come in threes, I’m expecting to wake up tomorrow to news the NYT has bought The Guardian or something.
For the Guardian, Chris Stokel-Walker makes a good point that it’s the new Facebook, and likely to upend all aspects of our lives. That, obviously, includes how publishers reach their audiences.
Matthew Harrison’s main point – that media businesses are facing their biggest crisis yet in engagement erosion with declining rates of readership – is incredibly pertinent at the moment.
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