Magazines. Scotland is the 17-year-old bi-monthly magazine for people across the world who love the castles, mountains and islands of the UK’s northern country. It has been sold to Chelsea Magazine Company by the privately-owned Paragraph Publishing which loves Scotland so much that it will still be publishing Whisky magazine in honour of the country’s biggest export.
The deal, which includes the Scottish Hotel Awards, highlights the little-known Chelsea, which publishes 18 specialist consumer magazines including Yachts & Yachting, The English Garden, The English Home, and Cruise International. The 12-year-old company, which claims a print and digital reach of more than 2m, has some £12m in revenue. It has proved remarkably steady, and particularly smart at buying – and selling.
Chelsea Magazines is owned by Paul Dobson (yes, he is a Chelsea soccer-football supporter and his offices are close by). In 2005, he sold the 20-year-old Romsey Publishing company to the UK regional news group Archant for some £9m – about 15 x EBITDA. Those were the days. But that was the year when the Norwich-based, family-owned Archant spent almost £16m on magazine acquisitions as it sought to diversify from newspapers. That little spree was equivalent to half the company’s EBITDA profit in 2005. But… more than 5x the operating profit last year.