Future pays £30.5m for Highbury titles

Future, the UK's fifth-largest magazine publisher, has agreed to buy 38 titles from its rival Highbury House, at an expected cost of £30.5 million.

Future had originally attempted to buy Highbury House in its entirety earlier this month, but was thwarted by the Office of Fair Trading. The OFT referred the deal to the Competition Commission amid concerns that the combined entity would have enjoyed more than 90 per cent of the computer games magazine market and that competition in that sector would have been restricted.

The Bath-based Future has now returned with a commitment to buy 40 per cent of Highbury's portfolio, including Fast Car, Health & Fitness, Total Mobile and DVD Review. However, the deal will not include any games titles.

Highbury House will use the proceeds of the sales to help reduce its £53 million debts.

Simon Neathercoat, the non-executive chairman of Highbury, explained: "In the short period following the OFT's announcement, the board has sought to move quickly to preserve as much value as possible for Highbury's stakeholders by making this significant disposal, which will enable the group to reduce its indebtedness substantially and provide new operational focus."