Future sells New York music division for $3m

Future Publishing has sold its New York music division, which includes the Guitar World, Revolver and Guitar Aficionado magazines, to NewBay Media for $3m (£1.9m).

The company said its decision was consistent with its strategy to reduce the scale of exposure to the US.

Future recently reported a pre-tax loss of £18m in the last financial year – largely caused by the poor performance of its US division which suffered £3.6m losses and a 16 per cent slump in turnover.

For the year ended 30 September 2011 the revenue and pre-tax loss attributable to the US Music Division was £8.5m and £3.8m respectively, with gross assets of £1.8m.

The NewBay Media sale involves the US magazines Guitar World, Revolver and Guitar Aficionado and their related websites, together with a licence to operate the Golden Gods Awards show in the US.

The proceeds will be used for the ‘continued restructuring of Future US and to reduce the level of bank debt”, the company said in a statement.

Chief Executive Mark Wood said: ‘The sale represents a big step forward in our strategy to streamline our US business and return it to profitability by 2013.

‘The merger of our mainstream US operations and our UK business is on track, and we are making good progress in reducing costs.

‘We continue to accelerate our transition to a digital business model and to create a single global product line, selling our entire range of digital content to high-value audiences in all key markets.”

Last year chairman Peter Allan admitted the company’s latest financial results were ‘disappointing’but insisted the company had taken ‘decisive’action by appointing a new chief executive and finance director to replace Stevie Spring and John Bowman in October.

The company’s annual report released today revealed it had slashed the amount paid to directors in 2011 – down 27 per cent to £888,000.

Despite the company’s losses the remuneration committee awarded Wood and the new finance director Graham Harding pay rises.

While being promoted to new roles the pair also retained their previous positions as CEO and FD of Future UK, removing a tier of senior management at the company.

Wood saw his pay increase by 10.6 per cent from £235,000 to £260,000, and Harding’s went up 10.4 per cent from £154,000 to £170,000.

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