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Future, the Parent Company of Radio World, Acquires SmartBrief

Company triples its B2B subscriber database in deal worth up to $65 million

SmartBriefFuture plc will acquire SmartBrief, expanding Future’s presence in the United States and in business-to-business media.

Future is based in the U.K. and describes itself as a global platform for specialist media. In 2018 it launched an effort to be a bigger presence in B2B as well as grow its U.S. footprint when it acquired NewBay Media, titles of which included Radio World and sibling publications, such as TV Technology and Broadcasting & Cable.

Now, Future told investors, the SmartBrief acquisition enhances its proprietary technology stack through the addition of automated email marketing and more than triples its B2B subscriber database.

The acquisition is expected to be completed this week.

“Future is dedicated to building specialist brands, and SmartBrief complements their global B2B portfolio with highly relevant and credible newsletter content,” Future stated in the announcement.

The total price of the deal is up to $65 million, depending in part on subsequent performance, according to an investment summary. The initial cost is $32.2 million cash plus $12.8 million in shares. The majority of SmartBrief’s current shares is owned by three founders, one of whom, Rick Stamberger, is active in the business as CEO; Future said he will remain with SmartBrief. The other founders were Dan O’Brien and Tom Wheeler. Zillah Byng-Thorne is CEO of Future.

SmartBrief, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a digital media publisher of targeted business news and information by industry. It produces news products for trade associations, professional societies and corporations. It is familiar to many in broadcasting as publisher of NAB SmartBrief in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters.

In making the acquisition, Future noted that SmartBrief owns a database of 5.8 million subscribers “made up of senior executives, thought leaders and industry professionals,” and that it creates and distributes more than 250 digital newsletters.