Future plc is a British media company founded in 1985. It publishes more than 50 magazines in fields such as video games, technology, films, music, photography, home, and knowledge. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
Future's founder Chris Anderson in 2007
1985 to 2012
The company was founded as Future Publishing in Somerton, Somerset, England, in 1985 by Chris Anderson with the sole magazine Amstrad Action. An early innovation was the inclusion of free software on magazine covers; they were the first company to do so. It acquired GP Publications so establishing Future US in 1994. From 1995 to 1997, the company published Arcane, a magazine which largely focused on tabletop games.
Anderson sold Future to Pearson plc for £52.7m in 1994, but bought it back in 1998, with Future chief executive Greg Ingham and Apax Venture Partners, for £142m. The company was the subject of an initial public offering in 1999. Anderson left Future in 2001.
The company had a period of abandoning print media properties in favour of digital media, closing many titles and selling off others. In January 2012, Future sold its U.S. consumer music magazines, including Guitar World and Revolver, to NewBay Media for $3 million. In April 2013, it completed the sale of major components of its UK media-music brands for £10.2 million to Team Rock Ltd. In September 2013 - but bought these back for £800,000 in 2017 after Team Rock went into administration.
Future announced it would cut 55 jobs from its UK operation as part of a restructuring to adapt "more effectively to the company's rapid transition to a primarily digital business model." The company announced in March 2014 that it would close all of its U.S.-based print publications and shift U.S. print support functions such as consumer marketing, production and editorial leadership for Future's international print brands to the UK. Later in 2014, Future sold its sport and craft titles to Immediate Media, and its auto titles to Kelsey Media.
In March 2014, it was announced that the company's CFO Zillah Byng-Thorne would become the company's fourth CEO in nine years on 1 April 2014, after Mark Wood, CEO since 2011, stepped down.
Since 2016: Expansion
In 2016, Future started to expand its print and web portfolio through a series of acquisitions. It bought Blaze Publishing to diversify into the shooting market and acquired Noble House Media to increase its interest in telecoms media. Future then completed the purchase of rival specialist magazine publisher Imagine on 21 October 2016 after receiving approval from the Competition and Markets Authority. In 2018, Future made further major acquisitions. It bought the What Hi-Fi?, FourFourTwo,Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome brands from Haymarket. Future acquired NewBay Media, publisher of numerous broadcast, professional video, and systems integration trade titles, as well as several consumer music magazines. This acquisition returned most of the U.S. consumer music magazines to Future, with the exception of Revolver which had been sold to Project Group M LLC in 2017.
It completed the acquisition of U.S. B2C publisher Purch for $132m by September 2018. Future also purchased nextmedia's computing and tech assets in Australia (including Atomic, Hyper, PC PowerPlay, and PC Tech & Authority) in the same month, and began incorporating PC PowerPlay articles into the online versions of PC Gamer.
In January 2019, Future sold some B2B brands to Datateam Media Group.