IPC Media ends 'divestment' of small and niche titles

IPC Media has brought to an end the sell-off of a number of its small and niche magazine titles.

Announcement of the sale yesterday of Classic Boat and Racecar Engineering to The Chelsea Magazine Company closed the magazine giant’s almost three month ‘divestment process”, the publisher confirmed.

Chelsea Magazine’s interest in a third IPC title, World Soccer magazine, cooled as talks between to the two companies progressed.

Press Gazette understands that IPC will not seek a new buyer for the title and it will instead form part of the publisher’s sports group alongside Golf Monthly and Rugby World.

The divestment process, which was brought about by a strategic review earlier in the year, started on 28 September when IPC sold Cage & Aviary Birds, Britain’s only bird keeping weekly, to specialist publisher Kelsey Publishing.

Over the ten week period, IPC sold a total of 20 specialist magazines to smaller, independent publishing houses. IPC, which is the country’s largest magazine publisher, retains around 60 print and digital titles.

The sell-off included IPC passing control of its iconic men’s mag Loaded to Vitality Publishing along with three other titles.

Circulation of Loaded has fallen sharply in recent years from its peak the late1990s, when it was an agenda-setting monthly magazine. At its peak in the second half of 1998, Loaded sold an average of 457,318 copies a month but its ability to generate significant revenue had passed.

That had fallen to an average monthly sale of 53,591 in the first six months of this year (a year on year fall of 23 per cent), figures released in August by the Audit Bureau of Circulation confirmed.

One senior member of staff told Press Gazette the sell-off amounted to little more than a “fire sale” of titles that had outlived their usefulness to a company that wanted to instead focus on digital development and women’s titles as its core products.

Sylvia Auton is returning to IPC as its chief execuitve from January 4 when she is expected to oversee a new strategy for the business.

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