Future buys Computec's UK games mags

Bath-based magazine publisher boosts its market share.

Magazine publishing giant Future Network plc has extended its dominance of the games magazine market in the UK by acquiring Computec Media UK, whose titles include PSW and Xbox World, for £3.2 million.

Under the terms of the deal, Future will acquire Computec Media UK in its entirety from the company's German parent, Computec Media AG, for a cash consideration of £3.2 million, and will move production of the magazines and CMUKs' staff to Future's London office.

As part of the deal, Future has also agreed to grant Computec Media AG a licence which will allow the company to use content from a number of its UK titles in CMAG's German publications.

This acquisition will boost Future's market share in the videogames magazine sector significantly, giving it control of popular unofficial PlayStation title PSW, which most recently recorded ABCs of 53,349 copies, and CMUK's unofficial Xbox title, Xbox World, which has sales of over 25,000 copies monthly.

Future expects the titles to be profitable in 2004, and a return on investment is expected in that year. The last year of audited figures for CMUK, namely the financial year ended September 2002, shows a turnover figure of £4.7 million; this deal is conditional upon Future being satisfied with the company's final figures for 2003, which should be audited shortly.

"Computec has carved out a distinctive and profitable niche within the UK games segment," commented Future CEO Greg Ingham. "Both main titles have attractive long-term prospects. We are pleased to add these titles to our portfolio of leading games titles."

Once this deal has been completed, there'll be very little competition left for Future in the games sector in the UK. The only major publishing rivals remaining in the marketplace are Dennis Publishing, which publishes PC Zone and C&VG, and Highbury-Paragon, which publishes Play, P2, XBM, Cube and the well-regarded GamesTM, along with a number of smaller titles.

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