Pearson pays pounds 52m for Future

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The Independent Online
Pearson, the media group, confirmed yesterday that it is to buy Future Publishing, the Bath-based niche magazine publisher, for pounds 52.5m in cash.

The deal makes a multi-millionaire out of 37-year-old Chris Anderson, who set up the company nine years ago.

The price surprised other publishers who said that the multiple, around 35 times earnings, looked high, especially given that many of the company's 34 titles have declining circulations.

The core of Future's publishing stable is made up of computer game titles such as Gamesmaster, SegaPower, and Amiga Format, where competition is increasingly fierce.

Future's profits have dropped for three years in a row. In the year ended April, it made pre-tax profits of pounds 1.9m on sales of pounds 44.5m. That compared with pounds 2.3m profit on sales of pounds 41.8m in 1993 and pounds 2.9m on pounds 29.1m in 1992.

Pearson said 1994 profits were after charging launch costs of pounds 2.1m.

'These costs are expected to be lower for the remainder of 1994 and to reduce sharply in 1995,' it said.

Pearson said buying Future would give it 3.5 per cent of the consumer magazine market. Future will form the basis of Pearson New Entertainment, headed by Nick Alexander.

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