Profits Up, Sales Up, Price Could Be Up to £70 Million for The Spectator mdi-fullscreen

The Spectator’s latest company accounts are due shortly, meantime the accounts filed last year may give us a clue as to what price the magazine might command in the auction currently underway. These accounts are for the year ending December 2021 (not last year). The highlights were:

  • Turnover up 24% to £20.3 million
  • Profits £2.9 million
  • Average print sales 112,000
  • Average online monthly unique users 2,928,000

Healthy figures all rising in double-digit percentages. There was a 5% fall in news stand sales blamed on the pandemic, which was more than made up for by increased subscriptions. Guido has no reason to believe that this year’s figures would be much different. In fact, the return of a thriving events business should boost profits.

A note to the accounts caught Guido’s eye: the incorporation of “The Spectator (1828) Inc.” to aid the title’s US expansion. Guido understands that the US operation is loss-making, and that if a buyer was to spin off or more ruthlessly shut down the US effort, profits would be more like £4 million. This suggests that the widely touted £50 million price tag on the magazine might be an underestimate. Giving the venerable magazine with a growing and already substantial digital presence a profits multiple in the mid-teens doesn’t seem unreasonable. Add on a trophy brand premium and it could be worth in excess of £70 million. Something for Rupert Murdoch to mull over…

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