The Global Media Weekly for executives and entrepreneurs

Wm Reed buys food-farming events

The UK-based, family-owned William Reed Group, which operates B2B information and events principally in food, drink and hospitality, has acquired a majority shareholding in the privately-owned, Rethink Events Ltd whose portfolio of events in agri-tech and food-tech, includes the World Agri-Tech and Future Food-Tech Innovation series.

The Rethink summits are held in San Francisco, New York, London, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Singapore. The company was founded in 2011 by Jennie Moss who was formerly a B2B magazine editor and conference organiser.

While no financial terms have been disclosed, it is believed that Rethink’s revenue is £10-15m and that it made profit of £3.4m in the year ended 31 March 2022 (2021: £800k). The company had net assets of £8.2m (2021: £4.8m).

William Reed’s latest financials, for the year ended March 2022, show just how effectively its events have bounced back from the pandemic:


£m/ year ended 31 March
202220212020
Digital19.321.315.1
Events14.2 1.819.5
Magazines 6.1 6.19.7
Insight 3.0 3.43.9
Other 0.4 0.3 0.2
Total revenue43.032.948.3
EBITDA 9.3 4.6 7.2
Margin22%14%15%
Source: William Reed Group Ltd statutory filings

Significantly – given the international focus of Rethink Events – 45% of William Reed revenue in 2022 was derived from outside the UK (2021: 47%; 2020: 39%). It ended the year with net cash of £29.6m (£18.8m). The average number of employees in 2021-22 was 345 (2020-21: 396).

The company, that is still best known for its legendary 160-year-old B2B magazine The Grocer and – now – The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, seems set for further international expansion.

William Reed