Country Life publisher Future raises profit forecast as it completes £594m takeover of GoCompare and Look After My Bills owner GoCo Group
- GoCo Group also recently bought the Australian price comparison site Mozo
- Future publishes dozens of titles including FourFourTwo and Woman & Home
Magazine publisher Future has confirmed it has completed the £594million takeover of GoCo Group, the parent company of insurance firm Go Compare.
The deal also brings discount platform MyVoucherCodes and energy savings services Look After My Bills and Weflip under its portfolio, which forms part of its strategy to enhance its e-commerce and financial services capabilities.
It comes just over a fortnight after the FTSE 250 business bought Mozo, an Australian price comparison website that focuses on selling financial products like loans and bank accounts, for £17million.
Future has recently taken control of price comparison websites Go Compare and Mozo
‘The acquisition will combine Mozo’s leading financial services insight with Future’s expertise in customer acquisition and content creation, creating an enhanced brand proposition and monetisation opportunities through Future’s revenue diversification strategy,’ the company said.
It also revealed that revenues in its media division ‘grew strongly’ in the four months to December 31 while it observed ‘high levels of online engagement,’ especially over the Black Friday and Christmas periods.
Annual profits are now forecast to surpass existing market estimates despite current market uncertainty and its events division continuing to perform weakly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It further remarked that it was ‘on track’ to achieve the £20million in expected cost savings from its integration of TI Media, the former publisher of lifestyle catalogues Country Life and Woman & Home.
TI Media was bought by Future for £140million, one of its largest-ever purchases, in a deal the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority approved in April last year.
Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne said: ‘Following the integration of TI Media, we continue to make good progress against our strategy to build the leading specialist global media platform that drives intent, powered by technology and insight with scalable, diversified brands.
Marie Claire UK is one of the many lifestyle catalogues published by Future
‘Price comparison for services is a natural complement in our strategy to enhance and expand our eCommerce proposition and monetisation opportunities beyond product purchase.’
She added that taking over Mozo ‘broadens our price comparison brands to a global reach. This will enhance our proposition, bringing together its leading financial services insight with our expertise in customer acquisition and content creation, and is aligned with our strategy to operate globally.’
Future has been embarking on a buying spree since Byng-Thorne took charge of the Bath-based group, which TED Conferences CEO Chris Anderson set up in 1986 with an initial focus on home computing magazines.
After it acquired TI Media in 2020, Future plc became the publisher of Country Life magazine
As well as TI Media and GoCo, Future has bought the ProCycling publication from Immediate Media, American business-to-consumer publisher Purch, and football supplement FourFourTwo from Haymarket.
Its share price has risen considerably as it has expanded. From being less than £1 for much of the previous decade, their value started to take off about four years ago, and they ended trading 1.05 per cent higher today at £19.22.
Revenues have also climbed. In its most recent full-year results covering the year to September 30, they jumped by over half to £339.6million. Meanwhile, pre-tax profits soared by more than 300 per cent to £52million.
Growth was driven heavily by online user numbers in its media division rising by around 100 million, but its total magazine circulation also shot up to 3.8 million from 1.5 million the year earlier.