First Active Media, the parent company of the online female-orientated website Female First, has gone into administration. The site claims to have the largest number of visitors of any similar female site in the UK with two million monthly unique visitors.
The company, based in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, describes itself on its Twitter handle as the UK’s largest independently-owned women’s lifestyle magazine.
First Active Media was founded in 2003 as an online lingerie retailer. It subsequently invested in content and technology to create Female First a ‘destination’ site, offering celebrity updates, lifestyle articles and fashion news to a primarily 18-35 female audience.
In March 2012, the North West Fund for Digital and Creative invested an undisclosed amount into the company to help fund its move into web publishing.
The former managing director of MEN Media and current CEO of WRG, David Sharrock, was installed as chairman of the company alongside the private equity investment. Sharrock however resigned from the board nine months later in December 2012.
In September 2013, there was a further fund-raising which resulted in the NW Fund taking its shareholding to 90.06% with three other shareholders; the founder Stephen Reay (5.16%), his partner Susan Reay (1.4%) and Martin Boddy (2.81%) holding the balance.
Boddy resigned from the company on 2 July 2014. He is also a director of the Sheffield quoted agency group Jaywing.
A third director, Andrew Booth, a director of Branded Reality in Liverpool, resigned on 31/12/2014.
The company appears to have made a loss of c£175,000 for the year ending September 2013, the last time it filed accounts.
The site is still live but both editor Heather Earnshaw and Lindsay Pilkington of the administrators Andrew Rosler of Ideal Corporate Solutions declined to respond to questions about the new ownership, beyond directing enquiries to Susan Reay.
The company was placed into administration on 27 February 2015.