NatWest supports the expansion of Future’s consumer proposition

18 February 2021

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Connecting people to their passions through high-quality content

Every month, Future – the global platform business for specialist media – delivers content to over 390 million people through its websites, magazines and events. Future’s content reaches more than one in three adults online in both the UK and US. With over 200 titles and brands across a wide range of verticals including Home Interest, Technology, Sport and Women’s Lifestyle, Future connects consumers with their passions (TechRadar, Marie Claire and Cycling News are just a few names in the portfolio). The specialist media group covers a wide range of consumer interests, all supported by innovative proprietary technology and underpinned by Future’s purpose: “Changing people’s lives through sharing our knowledge and expertise with others, making it easy and fun for them to do what they want”.

In order to further strengthen its intent-led digital offering and expand its platform approach across new revenue streams and content verticals, Future started talks for a potential takeover of GoCompare Group plc (GoCo), the UK listed leading services comparison and switching provider and one of the largest in the sector. In November 2020, the two companies agreed a £594 million deal, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

NatWest facilitates financing for the GoCompare acquisition

To help finance the acquisition bid, Future turned to NatWest as one of its core banking partners, to provide a financing package within a 3-week timeframe.

NatWest’s Structured Finance team worked closely with the Company, its advisors and existing banks to put together a deliverable structure. This resulted in the arrangement of a £215million 2-year Term Loan Acquisition Facility for Future, of which NatWest jointly underwrote a total £180m alongside HSBC. The transaction was successfully syndicated to new lenders, reflecting the strength of the bank market in supporting digital / tech-led businesses.

This acquisition represents a key step in the evolution of Future plc, and allows Future to capitalise on GoCo’s respective strengths to address the growing consumer demand for informed and value-driven purchasing decisions, enabled by intent driven content.

Aiming for market leadership in the online content business

Rory O’Connor, Structured Finance, NatWest, commented on the deal: “We’re delighted to have structured this debt package for Future that supports them in their acquisition ambition. With a successful syndication, Future now has a defined relationship bank group which will be able to support their financing needs through the medium term.”

Rachel Addison, Future’s CFO, said: “We are very pleased that NatWest, one of our key banking partners, has supported us in financing our bid for GoCompare Group – a transformative deal for Future.”

 

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