Cheat Sheet: What Future plc is really getting from Dennis acquisition

As recently as 12 months ago, an M&A deal between Future plc and Dennis Publishing might have been regarded as an e-commerce blockbuster.

Instead, the 12-title, nine-figure deal announced today between the two companies shows how much more important first-party data is becoming to publishers, while also giving Future audience fortification in some verticals, such as finance, and a foothold in others, such as news.

The key details:

Data, diversification

Without the brands and tech now rolled into Autovia, the portfolio Future is acquiring generates the lion’s share of its revenues from subscriptions to its sites, magazines and newsletters. The 12 brands have 1.2 million subscribers between them. 

That base of consumer data and revenue should complement the subscription and affiliate commerce revenues that Future generated. Its sites drove close to $1 billion in ecommerce sales last year, thanks in part to the surge of online sales driven by the pandemic.

Integration

While some of the titles Future is acquiring, particularly Kiplinger and Money Week, will be easy to integrate into existing sales strategy, some, such as The Week, may fit less naturally into the existing portfolio.

But over time, the additions could help wring more value out of the audience scale that Future has assembled. The publisher now claims to reach one out of every three U.S. consumers. Much of its scale is consolidated in categories such as technology and gaming.

The acquisition also broadly continues a trend seen across media, where publishers serving niche audiences have become more desirable.

Sign up to get the day’s top stories at 6am eastern.