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Publishing giant Future enjoys sharp digital growth

Overseeing digital growth: Future CEO Mark Wood

Overseeing digital growth: Future CEO Mark Wood

Bath publisher Future expects its digital revenues to “maintain a vigorous growth rate”, fuelled by growing demand for its titles on Apple Newsstand.

The company today recorded a 41 per cent increase in digital revenues for the three months to December 31. In its UK operations, the pace of digital expansion was faster still, with revenues increasing by 51 per cent and offsetting a decline in its print revenue – a development described by the company as an “important milestone”.

The magazine publisher expects the expansion of its digital operations to continue apace as more consumers acquire tablets and other mobile devices.

“Print sales will be challenging, but we expect digital revenue to maintain a vigorous growth rate,” said today’s interim management statement.

Future has more than 65 digital editions available through Apple Newsstand. It reported 10 million downloads of its cost-free apps and sales of over 430,000 digital magazines.

Chief executive Mark Wood, who took the hot seat at Future in the autumn, said: “We are starting to see a significant change in the shape of the business as our digital innovation enables us to reach entirely new consumers in global digital markets.

“The period has confirmed Future’s position as a recognised leader in the transition to digital publishing.”

Total group revenues were down seven per cent, primarily due to the company’s performance in the US, where revenues dropped 20 per cent because of year-on-year reductions in print revenues and the “managed closure” of titles.

The company says it expects to get its US business back in the black by 2013. It completed the sale of its US Music titles in January, and a US version of its TechRadar website will be launched in the spring. In December, TechRadar – a technology news and reviews site – generated a record of almost 11 million unique visitors.

Wood added: “The new management team is delivering fast digital growth and restructuring our US business in line with the strategy outlined in November. We are pleased that cost-saving initiatives have fully offset the anticipated reduction in revenues.”

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Picochip acquired by Mindspeed for up to $76.8m

Bath-based ‘small cell’ manufacturer Picochip, has just been acquired by Mindspeed Technologies, a California-based manufacturer of semi-conductor technologies for a reported $51.8m in cash and shares plus up to $25m in earn out payments.

From the press announcement: “Together, Mindspeed and Picochip will offer the most comprehensive portfolio of base station semiconductor solutions on the market, from residential to enterprise to pico/metro applications.”

Picochip employ 100 people in the centre of Bath with a further 150 in offices in China and the US.

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