Snap Stock- Niche UK. Publisher to Expand in U.S. After Shares Soar 2800%
Future Plc boss Zillah Byng-Thorne has transformed a publisher of slightly obscure magazines and websites, including Practical Motorhome and IT Pro Portal, into the best-performing stock on the UK. FTSE All-Share Index over the last three years.
From its base in Bath, southwest England, Future has shifted beyond its specialist journalism to become a force in global e-commerce, ushering readers from articles about products to the purchases themselves. In November it spent 594 million pounds ($821 million) buying price comparison website GoCompare, while continuing to snap up other well-known magazine brands.
Byng-Thorne now wants to take on U.S. rivals such as Meredith Corp and Hearst Communications Corp.
“There’s significantly more opportunity for us in the U.S. in terms of monetizing the existing audience, never mind growing the new audience,” Byng-Thorne said in an interview. She said they reach one in three people online in the U.S., and their demographic currently skews male. But the acquisition a year ago of TI Media, which owns titles like Byng-Thorne’s own favored read, Country Life, means they can now reach more women.
“Our ambition is to have two in three people online in the U.S. access our content monthly, and that’s very much the focus for the next five years.”
Future’s market capitalization has soared 2,800% to 2.8 billion pounds since Byng-Thorne took the reins in April 2014, vaulting the value commanded by better-known British media groups like Reach Plc and Daily Mail and General Trust Plc. That’s also seen off short-sellers and, so far, rebuffed bearish notes from research firm ShadowFall, which said the company was already overvalued a year ago.