Publishing giant Future is investing in the country pursuits market after acquiring the magazines and assets of Blaze Publishing.
The two media companies have agreed a seven-figure purchase and investment deal that sees Future take over Blaze’s shooting and music-making publications and London exhibitions.
It has also agreed substantial support for the UK Game Fair, launched following the demise of the CLA Game Fair last year.
The shooting magazine portfolio includes Sporting Rifle, Airgun Shooter, Clay Shooting, iShoot, Gun Trade News and Bow International.
Blaze currently employs around 40 staff, with the majority based in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. All but nine are understood to be transferring to Future, with the firm currently saying it will look for local premises, once the existing office lease runs out in six months’ time.
Future is a leading digital business that boasts an international portfolio of more than 150 magazines, apps, websites and events covering tech, games, film, music, photography and creative, with more than 500 staff around the world.
The shooting and countryside arenas are new to Future and the addition of the specialist shooting titles further strengthens its portfolio as it bids to become the leading global content provider across several markets by 2018.
As a separate deal to acquiring the shooting titles and music division, Future has also committed a substantial cash investment to the UK Game Fair, taking place for the first time at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire from July 22nd to 24th.
Blaze Publishing’s managing director, Wes Stanton, will continue at the helm of the titles under Future for a year to ensure a smooth transition.
He said: “I’m delighted and thrilled to announce this deal, which will allow the titles and events I’ve built up under the Blaze banner to continue to grow.
“We have some really talented people who have grown with us over the years, but there’s a limit to what an owner-managed company can achieve in terms of growth. Future is the right company to take on stewardship of these brands – its own portfolio is largely male-focused and it is a leader in digital innovation: it’s a perfect fit.
“I am particularly excited about the investment Future is making alongside us in the UK Game Fair.”
Future CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne added: “The acquisition of Blaze’s assets presents mutually beneficial opportunities in print, online and in events for both businesses. We’ll gain from its team’s specialist knowledge and insight, and the deal will further strengthen Future’s portfolio as we work towards fulfilling our long-term ambitions.”