Media firm Ascential expects more sales soon after discharging health service magazine for £19m

 
William Turvill
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General Election - National Health Service
The Health Service Journal reported revenues of £10m in 2016 (Source: Getty)

Ascential, the media company formerly known as Emap, has announced the sale of one of its most high-profile titles for £19m.

Publisher Wilmington has pounced to snap up the Health Service Journal (HSJ) just two weeks after Ascential put the magazine title, along with 12 others, up for sale.

Overall, FTSE 250-listed Ascential is expected to sell the 13 titles – which also include Construction News, the Local Government Chronicle and fashion industry magazine Drapers – for up to £50m and could complete the process in the first half of this year.

Read more: Non-Ascential items: Events company puts 13 magazines up for sale

“We’ve had a huge amount of interest coming in,” Ascential chief executive Duncan Painter told City A.M.

I’ve been... slightly taken aback by the level of global interest, the companies that are interested in the brands and are interested in either buying the entire rest of the platform or perhaps breaking out sections of the platform that are right for them.

On today’s sale, which is expected to complete on 31 January, Painter added: “HSJ, as you can imagine, is definitely one of the premier brands in the mix, and therefore we weren’t surprised that we got to the right level of valuation. I think we did get a good price for the business.”

Read more: Ascential step away from print advertising exposure helps media firm grow

In 2016, HSJ claimed revenues of £10m and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of £2.8m.

Wilmington chief executive Pedro Ros said:

I’m delighted to welcome Health Service Journal to Wilmington, a highly complementary and earnings enhancing acquisition. Together with our WilmingtonHealthcare business, the combination will become a central presence across the UK healthcare market. This will open up a number of important cross-selling and networking opportunities for us to provide even more powerful, market leading insight to our clients.