Big Changes at Future Publishing
Future Publishing LLC, the global company best known for its gamer, music and technology enthusiast brands, has had a rough 2011—at least in the United States. After crawling back into profitability in 2010, earnings on these shores took a dramatic dive in 2011, with total revenue down 13 percent to $62.4 million. Print advertising fell 12 percent (for an overall decline of 9 percent) and newsstand sales declined 31 percent, according to a company report outlining 2011 results through September 30.
The company's U.K. operations, which constitute 72 percent of the business, saw a 2 percent overall decline over the same period, with ad revenue slightly up as growth in digital advertising exceeded the decline in print advertising.
Future's shares fell to a twelve-year low after the earnings report was released on Nov. 24. As the same time, the company announced a dividend freeze for all of 2012.
October saw the resignations of chief executive Stevie Spring, who handled U.S. operations, and finance director John Bowman. Spring was replaced at the helm by Mark Wood, who joined Future in August 2010 to run its U.K. business. The moves, along with restructuring and staff cuts, led some to speculate the company planned to shed its U.S. operations, an idea flatly denied by Wood.
"There are no plans at all to sell it off," Wood told The Guardian in October. "On the contrary, we are bringing the U.S. and U.K. operations closer together."
This plan was made official in the statement to investors released last week.
"We have taken swift action to reorganise the company, merging our U.K. and U.S. operations, and creating a single global product line," a statement from Wood reads. "These changes enable us to operate more efficiently and will get our U.S. business back to profitability by [fiscal year 2013]."