We heard rumors of this HEXUS.bean a few weeks back, and we also heard that the deal was done and dusted around 10 days ago. However, the Highbury staff have been informed this morning that indeed Future Publishing has acquired Highbury Entertainment, their debts and all their assets. This now gives Future a very strong hold of the PC and Gaming Titles within the print publications.
We know that EMAP and Dennis still have publications in play and more than alive, for example Dennis with their core PC title - PCPro. But with the Highbury acquisition, Future now have GamesTM which was the only competitor to Edge. This does for sure look like a potential problem for advertisers who very much depend on these lifestyle titles, since this sort of monopoly could mean an increase in prices for advertising due to less competition.
With rumours of debts hitting £50 to £60Million Future has taken a bold move to buy this publishing house. The final price paid was £96.5Million. There is £10 Million which will be divided out amongst shareholders - working out to be roughly 10p a share.
This re-structure and sale it clearly due to the problems which their 200+ titles have been facing in 2004. We have heard the take of DVdoctors very own Bob Crabtree take previously. The Buisness titles of course have been sold off previously to Ergo Science Corp for £12.5 Million.
This will give Future offices in Bath, Bournemouth, London and Orpington.
The only question to ask ourselves is: 'Was this a wise move after seeing the investment which Future made in France?' - Where it is rumoured that Future Publishing threw money to try and launch on the European front in France and it ended up costing them multiple millions.
There is a number of meetings happening throughout the day with the staff of specific titles and management, to see the future (no pun intended) focus for the titles. We wonder if this consolidation is purely because of the drive which the internet is giving as an information resource?
Time will tell though - and for sure this is not the last which we have heard of this little bean.