Future, a listed company in the UK, announced the acquisition in its full-year earnings on Friday and will complete the deal by the end of November. It publishes media brands including Four Four Two and TechRadar.
Barcroft makes factual content for streamers and broadcasters, as well as operating its own social video channels on YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat, where it has amassed 63M followers through self-funding content like Born Different and Beastly.
Barcroft was founded in 2003 by CEO Sam Barcroft and in 2014, took minority investment from Channel 4 as part of the British broadcaster’s Growth Fund initiative to boost small independent producers. The Future deal will mean that Barcroft is no longer part of the Growth Fund.
Sam Barcroft will remain in charge of the company alongside his top team of chief operating officer Caspar Norman and chief creative officer Alex Morris. As part of the deal, Barcroft will develop and produce original shows and video content for Future’s portfolio of more than 180 media brands.
Barcroft said: “Future’s stable of media brands is rapidly evolving across digital, e-commerce and events. Combining this with our expertise in the creation and distribution of amazing TV and video is an exciting proposition, enabling us to supersize our offering to broadcast, VOD and social media partners.”
Future CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne added: “Barcroft Studios are innovative TV and digital video producers who understand how to build communities at scale around content. With this acquisition, we see a fantastic opportunity to further innovate across our diverse media portfolio.”
Barcroft Studios was advised by Chris Graves at Deloitte, and Ken Wilkinson for Osborne Clarke. The £23.5M deal represents a 9.4x multiple on Barcroft’s EBITDA for the past 12 months. Some 60% of the takeover was funded by cash, while the remaining 40% by the issue of shares.