Shortlist Media has grown in eight years from a five-man independent start-up to a 150-strong enterprise spanning weekly print products, websites, emails, events and international editions.
The family-owned Scottish firm were founder investors in Shortlist Media in 2007, alongside a group of financial investors and members of the management team. In December 2013, SML announced a new ownership structure with minority investors divesting their shares and the governance of the company restructuring as a 50/50 joint venture with DC Thomson.
In the last 12 months, says Shortlist, the company has continued to grow and develop under its new structure, with each of its existing brands increasing revenues year on year and new lines being introduced. The tablet edition of Stylist launched and swiftly became the UK’s most downloaded tablet magazine; the company launched its second overseas edition, Stylist Arabia in the Middle East; and announced the launch of ShortList Middle East which will debut later in 2015. In addition, SML recently revealed plans to bring the Stylist brand to life at Stylist Live, a large-scale four day consumer show at the Business Design Centre in Islington, in October this year.
SML Chief Executive Mike Soutar says: “DC Thomson’s acquisition is an important milestone for our business. It marks the moment where we move from a plucky upstart into a long-term growth business with the solid ownership and backing of one of the most revered players in media. Until now we have relied upon our own resources to develop and launch new brands and lines – but with DC Thomson’s investment and support we can now accelerate our launch and acquisition plans. I am also very pleased that this new ownership structure means that the senior management team who have been with the business from launch – including my co-founder and Strategy Director Tim Ewington, Karl Marsden who has recently been promoted from Managing Director to Chief Operating Officer, Editorial Director Phil Hilton and Creative Director Matt Phare – will remain at the heart of the business long into the future.
Mike continues: “We have become known as a company which takes creative risks, which provides innovative creative solutions to commercial partners, and as a company where fresh, new talent is given responsibility and the chance to make their reputations. We want to build on that culture, retain the speed and agility of a start-up, but combine that with the muscle of a much larger enterprise. There are exciting days ahead!”
DC Thomson Director Richard Hall says: “Having been a founder investor and board member since the business began DC Thomson has immense confidence in the Shortlist Media business and its wonderful brands. The business is blessed with a dynamic senior management team and we are well aware of the brilliant talent throughout the organisation. DC Thomson owns and operates a media business that spans newspapers, magazines, digital platforms and broadcast. We have a long heritage in investing in businesses we believe in and Shortlist Media is our latest example of identifying and backing breakthrough ideas from their earliest days. We are delighted that the management team have committed to remain with the business, under Mike’s leadership; with our backing, we are confident Shortlist Media will continue to create and grow.”