Dennis Publishing acquired by Exponent

Rhys Handley
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Dennis Publishing and its 30-plus titles have been acquired by private equity firm Exponent and the proceeds of the deal will fund the development of woodland in Warwickshire.

Dennis was purchased in its entirety by Exponent for a rumoured £150-200m
Dennis was purchased in its entirety by Exponent for a rumoured £150-200m

Following a bidding war, which saw the Daily Mail & General Trust’s (DMGT) attempt to acquire flagship Dennis title The Week thwarted by Exponent’s proposal to acquire the full company earlier this month, Dennis has been bought by Exponent for an undisclosed sum.

Initial reports from Sky News suggested Exponent could pay between £150m and £200m, with The Week alone valued at around £100m, although the final amount was unconfirmed.

Dennis’ titles are centred around four key areas – current affairs, technology, automotive and special interest – and alongside The Week include MoneyWeek – acquired last July – The Week Junior, Viz, Car Buyer and Computer Active.

Dennis chief executive James Tye said: “Dennis is and will continue to be the most dynamic media company in the UK. We have grown strongly every year now since 2009 and that growth ambition is absolutely shared by Exponent.

“As partners, Exponent recognise the potential Dennis has and want Dennis to grow in size, reach and stature under their ownership.

“It’s business as usual, with no changes planned. As partners, we share the belief that innovation and ambition are the keys to success and it’s this shared vision that will propel Dennis to its next phase of growth.

It is the wishes of the executors of company founder Felix Dennis’ estate that the proceeds from the deal will go to the Heart of England Forest (HoEF), a project founded by Felix Dennis to create “tomorrow’s great native woodland one tree at a time”.

On behalf of the executors, Dick Pountain said: “We see Exponent as excellent partners for Dennis; their track record in media is extremely strong and we have confidence in their ability to continue to grow the size and reputation of the company that Felix created almost 50 years ago.

“This endowment will enable HoEF to create Felix’s ambitious vision – planting and maintaining the largest contiguous, broadleaf woodland for public enjoyment that the UK has seen in a century. The sale ensures not just a bright future for all involved but will create a lasting and important legacy for future generations.”

Dennis outsources all of its printing operations, “almost all to UK suppliers”, according to Tye.

Exponent’s investment represents the first from its fourth fund – the £1.5bn Exponent Private Equity Partners IV. Previously, it owned Immediate Media, a merging of Origin Publishing, Magicalia and BBC Magazines, until selling the publishing house to Hubert Burda Media in January 2017.

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