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Management buy out at Farmers Guardian publisher


Briefing Media Group has undergone a management buy out, backed by Lyceum Capital.

The deal means that Kester Capital will exit the business, three years after its original investment.

Briefing Media Group, which publishes the Preston-based Farmers Guardian, was founded in 2010 by Neil Thackray, the former CEO of Nexus Media Communications and Quantum Business Media, alongside chief marketing officer, Rory Brown, previously the group marketing director of Incisive Media. They, along with chief financial officer, Rupert Levy, were originally behind TheMediaBriefing, before acquiring The Farmers Guardian and Pulse from UBM.

They’ve since invested further in online and print agriculture brands, including

“Kester Capital has been a supportive partner for us as we have grown Briefing Media over the past three years, providing us with the backing to build a leading portfolio of assets that offer those in the UK agriculture industry an unrivalled range of information, services and events,” explained Thackray.

“The business is now well-positioned for its next phase of growth. With their track record of supporting management teams and offering the expertise and financial backing to make complementary bolt-on acquisitions, we felt that Lyceum was the perfect new investment partner.”

In the year to December 2014, Briefing Media’s revenues were up to £13m (2013: £11m) and it employs 80 people across its Lancashire and London offices.

Lyceum has invested alongside the management team, to support a strategy of “organic and acquisitive growth through providing premium paid-for content”. These include online portals Agrimoney and FG Insight, marketing solutions and advertising, and industry events and exhibitions.

“The management team has developed a profitable portfolio of premium assets providing information services to the UK agriculture industry. As a result, Briefing Media is a thriving, digital-led information, content and events group and a leading example of how to build successful modern media brands,” said Lyceum partner Daniel Adler, who will join the Briefing Media board alongside operations and development partner, David Harland.

“The business is highly cash-generative and there is scope for expanding the portfolio, both in the UK market and potentially overseas. Meanwhile, Lyceum’s investment will provide the management team with the necessary firepower to continue to build its portfolio with targeted acquisitions in what is a fragmented agriculture information sector.”

A non-executive chairman will be appointed “in due course”

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