NEWS 

Future acquires Mobile Nations

In early March, Future plc announced the acquisition of MoNa Mobile Nations, LLC (“Mobile Nations”), a leading US-based digital publisher focused on consumer electronics.

Future acquires Mobile Nations
Zillah Byng-Thorne: "This acquisition will further strengthen our market leading position in technology."

Mobile Nations is a global independent digital publisher focused on consumer electronics, combining content, community and commerce to deliver shopping enablement solutions, with its key brands including Android Central, iMore, Windows Central and Thrifter. Mobile Nations’ brands educate and inspire a monthly audience of over 40 million technology enthusiasts and support consumers in making better-informed buying decisions for personal electronics, says Future.

The initial cash consideration is $55 million with a further $5 million to be satisfied through the issue to the vendors of 615,166 new ordinary shares. In addition, a further variable deferred consideration up to a total value of $60 million will be paid, subject to meeting financial targets based on the year ending 31 March 2020. The deferred consideration is expected to be split equally between cash and the issuance of new shares in Future, although Future retains the right to pay the full balance in cash.

According to Future, transaction highlights and rationale include:

Clear strategic fit

  • Supports strategy of seeking leadership in niche specialist markets
  • Complementary brands further diversify and strengthen Company’s presence in US
  • Brands acquired focus on consumer electronics, combine content, community and commerce to deliver shopping enablement solutions

Include Android Central, iMore, Windows Central and Thrifter

Monthly audience of over 40 million technology enthusiasts

  • Strong existing commercial relationship through longstanding partnership with Purch, acquired by Group in September 2018
  • Significant further opportunities available through sharing of best practice

Compelling financial rationale

  • Mobile Nations achieved revenue of $16.4 million and EBITDA of $8.2 million in year ended 31 December 2018

Organic revenue growth of 31% and EBITDA growth of 52% yoy

  • Transaction expected to be earnings enhancing in the current financial year and materially earnings enhancing in the first full year following completion

Total consideration of up to US$120 million

  • Initial cash consideration of US$55 million, with further $5 million in shares
  • Further variable deferred consideration up to total value of $60 million, subject to certain financial targets based on the year ending 31 March 2020. Deferred consideration to be split equally between cash and issuance of new shares in Future, although Future retains the right to pay the full balance in cash
  • Initial cash consideration funded via Group’s existing debt facilities

Cash generative nature of Group will ensure debt profile reduces quickly over the year

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, commented: “This acquisition will further strengthen our market leading position in technology and extend our growing presence in the US. Mobile Nations’ consumer electronics brands, which combine content, community and commerce to deliver shopping enablement solutions, are highly complementary to our existing portfolio.

“We already have an established commercial relationship with Mobile Nations through its longstanding partnership with Purch, which we acquired in September 2018. The addition of Mobile Nations’ brands will deepen our presence and expand our opportunities to monetise our significant US online audience.

“We have identified a number of areas where we can share best practice as we continue to leverage our specialist media platform and diversify our revenue streams, both geographically and across our product offering.”

“I am absolutely thrilled that Mobile Nations is joining the team at Future. We have long admired the company’s fast-growing status in the tech media world and its devotion to building positive, long-lasting relationships with its audience.

“Like Mobile Nations, tech has long been a passion at Future, which we channel through our renowned business and consumer brands. I also believe Future is perfectly aligned with Mobile Nations, culturally and strategically. We share a mission to create the greatest tech media in the world; provide exciting spaces for our audiences to connect with their passions; and find the right products at the right price. There couldn’t be a better time for us to align.”