City A.M. is set for a new chapter, under new ownership, after London-listed THG agreed to purchase the 18-year-old business newspaper today.
The deal means the newspaper, which has long been a champion of British business, will remain under UK ownership and give it the support of a partner with long-term aspirations and a strong balance sheet for growth.
City A.M. co-founder Lawson Muncaster said the deal represented a “perfect fit” for the business.
“We both believe firmly in the power of business to make peoples’ lives better and we cannot wait to get started with our new partners,” he said.
THG, which already publishes digital magazines with a combined circulation of 600,000 through The Supplement and The Highlight, has been looking for a partner in the media space for some time, the firm’s chief exec Matthew Moulding said today.
The Manchester-headquartered firm will invest in both editorial and technological resources for the newsroom as well as expanding the paper’s lifestyle and sports categories, with further investment into new areas including sustainability, wellness technology and beauty.
The post-deal business, which has been purchased in a pre-pack deal from appointed administrators BDO, will also invest in further events building on existing set-pieces including the City A.M. Awards and THG’s annual Future of Commerce event.
“We’ve long been reviewing opportunities in the disruptive media space but have waited for the right time and the right opportunity to make a digital step-change in adtech capabilities for Ingenuity,” Moulding said, referring to the firm’s digital brand building and e-commerce platform.
City A.M., which has around 2 million monthly unique visitors online and a daily print circulation of just shy of 70,000 Monday to Thursdays, will bring THG added reach into the most influential consumer and investment community in Europe, which THG’s brands – including Cult Beauty and Myprotein – as well as clients of Ingenuity will now be able to access.
“City A.M. is one of London’s leading media platforms and we will ensure this remains the case with full editorial independence. This deal helps us reach a huge new audience, complements our successful content creation studios and digital media expertise,” Moulding said.
The acquisition will see City A.M.’s 40 editorial and commercial staff join the THG Group.
Founder heads for well-deserved retirement
The deal marks the end of one chapter for City A.M., with co-founder and longtime CEO Jens Torpe retiring from the business with the conclusion of the deal.
Muncaster, who founded the business with Torpe in 2005, said his partner had “worked tirelessly over the years to ensure that the good ship City A.M. sailed on through not just a financial crisis but a pandemic, too” and that Torpe would be much missed by colleagues.
“I am so proud to have embarked with Jens on an extraordinary journey,” he continued.
Torpe said: “During our 18 years we’ve faced a few storms but none as turbulent as the past three years.
“We managed to survive lockdown but unfortunately we didn’t have the money to invest in digital and build on the strong progress we saw during the pandemic.
“I’m therefore delighted that a business like THG has taken over City A.M. Their digital expertise will be a great asset, so after 18 years I take comfort in the knowledge that our ‘little baby’ will grow and become more than a teenager,” he continued.