Cirrus Media divests Travel Weekly and B&T in management buyout

B&T new logo Travel weeklyThe publishers of Cirrus Media’s travel and media publications have taken ownership of the brands in a management buyout.

David Hovenden and Dan Uglow have bought the titles, which include the long-established Travel Weekly and B&T, and associated assets, understood to include the B&T Awards, for an undisclosed amount.

The pair have created a new company called The Misfits Media Company and will relocate from Cirrus Media’s Chatswood head office in Sydney to the suburb of Surry Hills.

All staff, which number around 20 across both titles, will be retained while administrative staff, including HR and accounts, will be recruited. The deal will be completed on October 1.

B&T and Travel Weekly were previously owned by Reed Business Information (RBI) before a private equity group bought out RBI’s Australian assets and renamed the company Cirrus Media.

In July longstanding CEO Jeremy Knibbs quit the company after disagreements with the board over the future of the company with former Trader Media boss John King brought into replace him.

In a statement on the B&T site King said: “As part of a recent strategic review designed to simplify and focus our business, we have decided to sell our Media / Travel assets to existing management. This provides certainty and continuity for our customers and people. The team are very committed and have done a great job in repositioning the business. They have plenty of momentum and we wish them every success in the future.”

The divestment marks a change in strategy for the group, which had initially looked to divest a number of assets under the new owners, before deciding not to sell.

Early this year B&T underwent an overhaul in print, relaunching as a bi-monthly, having previously moved to monthly from a fortnightly publication. It has overhauled its website and allowing press releases to be uploaded directly to it.

Hovenden will take on the role of CEO of the company and editor-in-chief of B&T, while Uglow will be senior vice president and editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly. In a statement Hovenden added: “We have a passion for the business and strong conviction about the future. We back ourselves and have the belief to put our money where our mouths are.”

Hovenden and Uglow declined to discuss the current state of either the media or travel titles as both divisions remain part of Cirrus Media for another two weeks.

Uglow, who joined Travel Weekly as features editor more than eight years ago, said the deal will provide the titles with more freedom and flexibility.

“There is a certain level of sign-off required within a larger publishing company. Being independent will allow us to be more nimble,” he said.  Travel Weekly’s website will be redesigned to fall in line with B&T, Uglow added.

B&T hit the headlines last week when its section on “industry fashionistas” saw Play Communications senior art director Jarryd Zankovic attacked on social media for a “tongue in cheek” piece describing his style, with some commenters dubbing him “Australia’s biggest wanker”.

Disclaimer: A number of Mumbrella staff have previously worked for the travel and media sections under both Cirrus Media and Reed Business Information.


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