Job security pledge as Future takes over Highbury's titles

By Alyson Fixter

Highbury House, owner of Front and Fast Car magazines, has been bought by Future in a £96.5m deal that includes taking on £65m of debt.

The purchase will make Bath-based Future the third-largest consumer magazine publisher in the UK in terms of retail sales value, behind IPC and Emap.

There are about 1,000 staff at Highbury.

Future will take them on under their existing job conditions, excluding those on the business titles, which have been sold to publisher Ergo for £12.5m.

It is thought unlikely that Highbury staff will be relocated, although Future staff in London might move into some of the Highbury buildings, according to Future management.

A spokesman for Future sought to reassure staff that their jobs were secure under the takeover.

He said: “We do not buy magazines to close them down and this deal is seen as putting the two businesses together.

Future is excited about the complementary nature of titles at the two companies.

“There are areas where Future is very strong and the Highbury magazines will add to that, there are areas where Future is an emerging presence and Highbury will help us to grow. In sectors such as home and entertainments it opens up new areas for Future.”

Future currently has about 100 titles, and will have approximately 170 once the Highbury deal goes through.

Although Future will now take on Highbury’s £65m debt, as well as paying £31.5m upfront, chiefs have said they are confident they can make substanial savings.

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