Ascential separates ‘heritage brands’

Ascential has separated 13 heritage brands into a separate operating entity. The brands will develop an independent business strategy while new owners are sought. The heritage brands are: HSJ, MEED, Drapers, Nursing Times, Local Government Chronicle, Construction News, New Civil Engineer, Ground Engineering, H&V News and RAC, Retail Jeweller, Materials Recycling World and the architecture titles including Architects’ Journal, The Architectural Review and the associated World Architecture Festival. Each provides essential content to the loyal subscribers and industries they serve across three platforms – digital, events and print.

Consistent with the evolution of its internal management reporting structure during 2016, the group will be reporting these heritage brands as a separate segment for its 2016 financial year, the results of which are due to be announced on 27 February.

As a result of on-going discussions, the board now considers a sale of the segment to be highly probable and has therefore reclassified it as a discontinued operation. The heritage brands generated revenue of £63m in 2015 (2014: £64m) and £26m in H116 (H115: £29m). As stated at the time of Ascential’s interim results on 1 August, print advertising reduced to £9m in the 12 months to 30 June 2016 (or less than 3% of Group revenue). The heritage brands accounted for more than 90% of that £9m total.

Ascential chief executive Duncan Painter said: “Ascential’s growth strategy continues to be to focus its resources and investment on its largest brands and those with the highest growth potential. Our top five products represented 56% of Group revenue and 71% of Adjusted EBITDA in the 12 months to 30 June 2016. This move will further focus our portfolio on our largest market leading products. The Heritage Brands, with large, loyal audience communities, provide an exciting opportunity for new owners.”

At 9:28am: (LON:ASCL) Ascential Plc share price was +1.85p at 269.85p

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