Sale of Front and Hotdog completes Highbury break-up

By Alyson Fixter

The break-up of failed publisher Highbury House has been completed today, with flagship consumer titles Hotdog and Front sold to
newly-formed company SMD Publishing.

On Friday, Imagine
Publishing snapped up a batch of 24 computing titles, returning many of
them to the original management team that sold them to Highbury in 2003.

And, it was confirmed today, the company’s remaining craft titles have been sold to another new company, Brush Colour.

Accountancy
firm Ernst & Young, which has been overseeing the company’s breakup
since it went into receivership, said it could reveal no further
details about SMD and Brush Colour, although it is believed they could
consist of staff or previous management from the titles.

Imagine,
set up last year by Damian Butt and two other former directors of
Paragon Publishing, has bought all 24 of Highbury Entertainment’s
Bournemouth-based magazines, including GamesTM, Play, Advanced
Photoshop and Digital Photographer.

Many of the magazines were previously owned by Paragon and were sold to Highbury in a massive deal in 2003.

Private equity firm Kleinwort Capital has invested £7m into backing Imagine’s purchase.

In
a letter published on the blog The Word Is Not Enough, managing
director Butt said: “We are now trying to create as many new jobs for
the existing employees as we can.”

In a statement, Butt said:
“This is an extremely important acquisition for Imagine and it helps us
to not only develop an already exciting business, but also stimulate
further substantial growth.

“Imagine immediately becomes the
second largest videogames publisher in the UK, a market set for
explosive growth in 2006 to 07.”

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