Imagine Media to Merge With Europe's Future Publishing

Posted on May 5, 1999

Imagine Media, a publisher of magazines and websites, has announced a planned merger with Future Publishng, Europe's largest publisher of consumer magazines covering computing and video games. The agreement comes just four weeks after Future's acquisition of Italy's leading computer and video games publisher, Il Mio Castello.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Imagine Media's eight publications sell in excess of 1.5 million copies per month. Its market-leading titles include PC Gamer US (350,000 copies monthly), PSM (250,000 copies monthly), PlayStation magazine and Business 2.0 (137,500 copies monthly.) Imagine also runs three web networks attracting more than 200,000 daily visitors and generating more than 20 million page impressions monthly.

Future meanwhile has grown from a single title start-up in 1985 to one of Europe's most dynamic media companies, publishing 60 monthly magazines and employing 1000 people. In the UK it is the second largest publisher of special interest consumer magazines, and has overall leadership in video games, PC games, mountain biking, needlecraft and music making.

The transaction, expected to close within two months, brings together the two companies initiated by Chris Anderson, current CEO of Imagine Media and non-executive Chairman of Future. Anderson said: "It's an impossible dream come true. I'm seeing the two major businesses I've worked on over the past 15 years join forces to become a single powerhouse company. Future and Imagine have so much in common: the same obsession with editorial quality, the same culture of passion, energy and innovation, the same track record of dynamic growth. Together they will make a truly wonderful international media business." As part of the deal, Chris Anderson will become Executive Chairman of the overall Future Publishing Holdings group.

Commenting on the deal, Future Publishing's Chief Executive Greg Ingham said, "What has been achieved already in the States by Imagine is staggering. To have grown so fast from such a small base to a position of prominence in the world's largest market and undisputed leadership in the publishing community's most dynamic sector is simply awesome. Imagine has succeeded through brilliantly combining US and UK publishing ideas, and it has been driven by great innovation, sheer determination and a real passion. We're committed to continuing its dynamic growth, and are absolutely delighted at this deal."

As a combined group, the companies publish 108 regular magazines and 20 one-shot magazines in the UK, the US, France, Italy and the Benelux, selling over 4.5 million magazines per month with current annual sales of $400 million The company has recently established a German operation. It also owns web networks generating some 30 million page impressions monthly. It is planning 27 magazine launches world-wide and eight new websites throughout 1999.