• After selling a catalogue of UK music titles to Team Rock for £10m three years ago, Future Publishing buys them back for just £800,000
• Future again the home of Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog brands – in print and online
Future plc, the international media group and digital business, has acquired the magazines, domain names, events, radio license and websites of Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, Blues and the Golden Gods for £800,000 from FRP Advisory, the UK administrators of Team Rock Limited which closed down in December with a loss of around 70 staff.
The listed UK publisher Future originally sold the titles to Team Rock in 2013 for just over £10m. Future UK reported heavy losses several years ago and has been rebuilding its business and selling and buying various brands that fit its strategy.
Future also runs an Australian operation under COO Neville Daniels which includes digital and print brands in the fields of tech, entertainment and photography.
Future’s rock bottom offer to get the UK titles back was successful and the publisher said it was keen to preserve the iconic brands and harness their potential as part of the portfolio.
Although the UK print titles no longer release audited circulation figures, Classic Rock sold around 50,000 in 2015 with Metal Hammer shifting around 20,000.
The latter has been published by various publishers since 1986 and at the height of its importance in the metal world was edited in London by multi-talented Australian writer, editor and designer Robyn Doreian who now calls Melbourne home again after a long stint in the UK.
Contributing to both titles over the years was Aussie rock and rugby league specialist Steve Mascord who has recently married and settled in the UK after spending part of each year there in recent times.
Below is part of the statement Future UK released about the sale:
Audience satisfaction is a top priority at Future. By supporting these brands, consumers will continue to enjoy the brands’ editorial prowess alongside Future’s comprehensive portfolio of music titles. They will also see the advantages of Future’s strong events and digital resource pay dividends.
Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog have magazines and dedicated channels within the Team Rock website.
Blues features as an online channel on the Team Rock website and the Golden Gods is the events operation linked to Metal Hammer.
Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future chief executive said:
“The acquisition of these classic rock brands with their associated magazines, events and websites marks a further step in our buy and build strategy.
“It further reinforces our creation of a leading global specialist media platform with data at its heart, which we are monetising through diversified revenue streams.
“We look forward to developing further these iconic and much-loved brands and continuing to serve their communities of dedicated enthusiasts around the world.”
Tom MacLennan, joint administrator and partner with FRP Advisory said:
“We are delighted to have sold the assets of Team Rock Limited to Future plc and wish the new owners every success. The deal took just three weeks to conclude, during which time FRP Advisory received extensive support for our efforts to find a buyer, for which we are very grateful.”