Second fortune for Future Network publishing tycoon

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The Independent Online
CHRIS ANDERSON, the former cub reporter who made pounds 52m selling his publishing business to Pearson, pulled off another multi-million pound deal yesterday as Future Network, the publisher he chairs, conducted a pounds 173m placing ahead of its flotation next week.

The company, in which Mr Anderson has a 25 per cent stake, placed 45m shares with institutions at 385p, valuing it at pounds 578m.

The placing included the sale of pounds 27m of shares belonging to directors and principal shareholder Apax Partners, the venture capital group. Newly- issued shares accounted for pounds 146m, which the company is to use to pay off debt and make acquisitions.

Mr Anderson and chief executive Greg Ingham have signed agreements not to sell their shares within a year of the float. Mr Ingham owns about 2 per cent of the business. The rest of the management hold around 15 per cent. Apax Partners will retain a 29 per cent holding. Although Future is not to float until next Friday, conditional trading in the shares between market makers has already begun. Yesterday the shares closed at 423p.

Future publishes 101 titles in the UK, US, France and Italy. Its portfolio includes the official Sony Playstation magazine, Total Film, Total Football and Total Guitar.

The company began life in 1985, when Mr Anderson took out a pounds 15,000 loan to launch a computer magazine for Amstrad users. His inspiration came after he covered a story about computer chess for the South Wales Echo.

The business later attracted the attention of Pearson, which bought it in 1994 for pounds 52m, after it pioneered giving away software on magazine covers.

Mr Anderson later led a management buyout team with Apax Partners which bought the business back from Pearson for pounds 142m.

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