Future Publishing announced to the London Stock Exchange yesterday that it had completed the successful acquisition of Cyclingnews from the privately-held Australian media company, Knapp Communications Pty Limited, for £2.2m (AUS$5.25M).
Future is a publicly-listed special-interest media company based in Bath, UK, that publishes over 100 special interest magazines and 60 websites, with operations extending to France and the USA. The acquisition of Cyclingnews is a strategic move to build its online presence and consolidate its position in the cycling market.
Cyclingnews was launched in Australia in 1995 by Professor Bill Mitchell and subsequently acquired by Knapp Communications in September, 1999. It has grown to become the world's largest cycling website and also sponsors four cycling teams in three continents. The site has editorial and advertising operations in Australia, the USA and Europe.
Future's announcement to the LSE quoted audited traffic and readership statistics to June 30, 2006, of 30 million page impressions per month, representing an average of 500,000 unique users per month. The majority of Cyclingnews' revenues are generated from advertising and for the year ended June 30, 2006 revenues were AUS$1.5m and EBITDA was A$0.4m.
Cyclingnews publisher, Gerard Knapp, said new traffic and audience figures soon to be released to the market will show strong traffic growth for the site over the past 12 months, stretching its leadership in the cycling space. Knapp said he was delighted that as part of the acquisition, the existing staff and contributors will remain in place and continue to produce the website content. Knapp himself will continue as a fulltime consultant, advising on editorial direction and business development.
The acquisition of Cyclingnews coincides with the launch of Future's new website, BikeRadar, a new portal that will combine content from cycling journalists as well as reviews and features from the company's existing portfolio of cycling magazines, unifying their existing web presence. It will also feature Future's recently purchased online route planner, www.Bikely.com – which enables cyclists to share their cycling routes across the globe. Bikely already has in excess of 23,000 comprehensive routes and bike trails, and continues to grow.
Simon Wear, chief operating officer for Future UK, said: "The acquisition of Cyclingnews and the launch of Bikeradar.com go hand-in-hand, giving Future immediate access to a large, engaged global audience of enthusiasts. Together, the sites significantly advance our online plans for cycling. We have a great opportunity to lead the market across all platforms in this sector," he said.
(Read the background to this development from Cyclingnews' publisher, Gerard Knapp.)