The Week, the 26-year-old weekly current affairs digest with editions in the UK and US, is being auctioned by Exponent private equity which acquired the brands as part of Dennis Publishing three years ago. The process, being managed by Liontree Advisors, follows the demerger of the £70m Autovia e-commerce and magazines group which itself is expected to be sold, merged or floated during the next few months.
The Week and its fast-growing spin-off The Week Junior is believed to have accounted last year for some 30% of Dennis revenue and 50% of its profit. The subscriptions-funded operation may attract a valuation of up to £300m (about 15x EBITDA) – almost twice the £167.4m Exponent paid for the whole Dennis business in July 2018.
Although Daily Mail publisher DMGT is believed to have tried to acquire The Week (rather than the whole of Dennis) in 2018, the cashed-up listed UK company is reported not to be bidding now. News Corp is known to be interested and other prospective buyers may include Axel Springer, the New York Times, and Future.
Once the process completes, it is believed that Exponent will seek to sell-off the remaining portfolio of Dennis magazines including: Fortean Times, Minecraft World, MoneyWeek and Viz.
Felix Dennis, the eponymous founder of the company and of the Heart of England Forest which the publishing proceeds are funding, died seven years ago this month, aged 67.