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Limelight Magazine looks for buyer as parent company teeters toward liquidation

Arts Illuminated, the publisher of classical music magazine Limelight, is searching for a buyer for its masthead as the company teeters towards liquidation.

“I couldn’t weather the monthly highs and lows anymore”, publisher Andrew Batt-Rawden told Mumbrella yesterday. “I started the company in debt, and as a starving artist I had no assets to borrow against. The operations have all frozen, and I’m looking for a buyer to sell the masthead to prior to liquidation.”

“I couldn’t weather the monthly highs and lows anymore.” Limelight publisher Andrew Batt-Rawden

Limelight, which employs seven people, is the latest casualty among Australia’s smaller publishers with Crinkling News, Australia’s only children’s newspaper, and the local licensee of Rolling Stone, Paper Riot, shutting shop in the last month.

The title has a print circulation of 8,000 a month, with the publisher claiming about 100k unique monthly website views and a roster of over 300 advertisers. The magazine has been struggling for some time, even launching a crowdfunding campaign in 2016 to help the publication’s fortunes.

The magazine was founded as the ABC Classic Radio’s program guide in 1976, before being renamed Limelight in 2003 and sold to Haymarket three years later.

Batt-Rawden bought the title from Haymarket Media in 2014. His own background was in music composition and teaching, although he had stints working in sales and marketing at his parent’s travel and marketing industry publisher, BT Publishing.

His main reason for buying the title was because he “couldn’t imagine a world without it.”

“Limelight is a really important part of the Arts ecology in Australia. I’d booked advertising in it, I’d been featured editorially in it.

“The real high for me whilst I was publishing Limelight was the incredible support we could give artists. Publishing is not easy, as most of your audience will know, but this title carries with it an indescribable essence. It inspires people to creativity – either as audiences or as artists themselves. Knowing this and seeing this materially manifest year on year has been an absolute joy.”

Batt-Rawden is hoping to sell the publication for a mid-six figure sum, saying: “For an established publisher it could offer about $200k a year in ‘contribution'”

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