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Exponent sells Dennis to Future

Exponent has reached an agreement to sell Dennis, an international media group and publisher of The Week in the US and the UK, to Future plc for a purchase price of £300m.

Exponent sells Dennis to Future
James Tye: “We look forward to working with the team at Future to continue growing the reach, influence and value of all our key brands and businesses.”

Dennis is a leading consumer media subscriptions business based in London, New York and Washington DC. Operating across the Current Affairs and Personal Finance verticals in the UK and US, the portfolio is centred on The Week, The Week Junior, MoneyWeek and Kiplinger brands.

Exponent acquired the business in 2018 from the estate of Felix Dennis in partnership with a management team, led by CEO James Tye and Non-Executive Chair, Jack Griffin, an experienced US media executive who has held leadership roles at Meredith, Tribune Media and Time Inc. The investment built on Exponent’s track record in the consumer media and e-commerce sectors, following investments including TES (formerly the Times Educational Supplement), Immediate Media (formerly BBC Magazines), Spotlight Sports Group (parent company of the Racing Post), Trainline and Moonpig.

Over the last three years, Exponent and management built a world-class leadership team, invested in digital marketing capabilities and revised the pricing strategy, while maintaining the distinctive innovative and agile culture that has been a long-term feature of Dennis, says the company.

US expansion has been a key focus, both through the acquisition of Kiplinger and organically through the launch of The Week Junior US and the continued growth of The Week US. These initiatives have, says Exponent, delivered significant revenue growth (CAGR of 12%) and an EBITDA CAGR of 14% between 2019 and 2020. Growth has continued into 2021 with revenue growth of 16% in the twelve months ended June 2021.

Exponent recently separated Autovia, an automotive content and e-commerce business, from Dennis. Following the sale of Dennis to Future, Autovia will remain an Exponent portfolio investment. Peter Plumb, former CEO of Moneysupermarket.com and Just Eat has been appointed Chair.

David McGovern, Partner at Exponent, said: "It has been a privilege to partner with James Tye and his team. In acquiring the business from the estate of Felix Dennis we became custodians of trusted and increasingly important media brands, in particular ‘The Week’. Today, the business is a world class and international subscriptions platform. We are delighted with the outcome and are confident the business will continue on this trajectory under Future’s ownership, an organisation that we and Dennis’ management admire."

James Tye, CEO of Dennis, said: "In the three years that the business has been owned by Exponent, Dennis has been on an incredible growth journey, delivering double digit increases in subscription revenues, a greatly increased US footprint; and significant bottom-line increases. This is a testament to the talented team at Dennis who have helped make all of this happen. We look forward to working with the team at Future to continue growing the reach, influence and value of all our key brands and businesses."

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, said: “I am delighted to announce the acquisition of a high-quality portfolio of Dennis’ trusted brands that will accelerate our strategy, enhance our content capabilities and bring additional geographical and vertical revenue diversification, whilst materially increasing the proportion of recurring revenues across the Group.

“The materially earnings enhancing acquisition is highly complementary to our longstanding ‘US first’ mindset and provides an attractive opportunity to scale our recently created ‘Wealth’ vertical, whilst diversifying our presence in our ‘Knowledge’ and ‘B2B Pro Technology’ verticals.

“I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to Future, and to continuing the successful execution of our strategy to generate long-term sustainable growth and attractive returns for our shareholders.”

The titles being acquired by Future are: The Week UK / The Week US, The Week Junior UK / The Week Junior US, MoneyWeek, Kiplinger, Science & Nature, IT Pro, Computer Active, PC Pro, Minecraft World, and Coach. The four titles not being acquired by Future - Viz, Fortean Times, Cyclist and Expert Reviews - will be retained by Broadleaf Group, the holding company of Autovia and formerly Dennis.

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