Last updated

Public limited company
Traded as LSE:  ASCL
FTSE 250 Component
Industry Publishing
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people
Scott Forbes, (Chairman)
Duncan Painter (CEO)
Revenue £416.2 million (2019) [1]
£105.8 million (2019) [1]
£8.1 million (2019) [1]

Ascential plc, (LSE :  ASCL) formerly EMAP, is a British business-to-business media business specialising in exhibitions & festivals and information services. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.



Richard Winfrey purchased the Spalding Guardian in 1887 and later purchased the Lynn News and the Peterborough Advertiser ; he also started the North Cambs Echo. He became a Liberal politician and campaigner for agricultural rights and the papers were used to promote his political views in and around Spalding, Boston, Sleaford and Peterborough. During World War II Winfrey's newspaper interests began to be passed over to his son, Richard Pattinson Winfrey (1902–1985). In 1947, under the direction of 'Pat' Winfrey, the family's newspaper titles were consolidated to form the East Midland Allied Press (EMAP): this was achieved by the merger of the Northamptonshire Printing and Publishing Co., the Peterborough Advertiser Co., the West Norfolk and King's Lynn Newspaper Co. and commercial printing sections at Rushden, King's Lynn and Bury St Edmunds. [2]

The magazine division was founded on a hunch when the company's printing presses lay dormant between printing issues of the local papers. The staff gambled that a weekly angling publication would be a hit - and in 1953 Angling Times was born. This was soon joined by another weekly heavyweight when EMAP bought Motor Cycle News from its founder in 1956 for a hundred pounds. [2] EMAP grew significantly in the late 1970s under the guidance of the extremely successful partnership of Sir Robin Miller and David Arculus. [3] In 1996 EMAP agreed to sell its 65 newspaper titles, including the 300-year-old Stamford Mercury , to Johnston Press for £111 million. [4]

Scottish Radio Holdings was acquired by EMAP on 21 June 2005. [5] In 2006, EMAP sold its French division to Italy's Arnoldo Mondadori Editore. [6] On 27 July 2007, EMAP announced that it was undertaking a review of the structure of the group in response to receiving a number of unsolicited proposals to purchase parts of the company. [7] On 12 September 2007, EMAP announced that it had completed the disposal of its Australian consumer magazine division, Emap Australia for approximately £38m to ACP Magazines. [8] On 29 January 2008, EMAP completed the sale of its radio, television and consumer media businesses (EMAP Radio) to German company Bauer for £1.14bn. [9] The remainder of the company was taken over by Eden Bidco Ltd, a company incorporated for the purpose of the acquisition by its owners, the private equity investment group Apax and the Guardian Media Group in late March/early April 2008. [10]

In March 2012, the company announced that it would be renamed Top Right Group, and that its magazines, events and data businesses would be separated into three standalone companies. The EMAP name would continue to be used for the magazines operation, which at the time accounted for around 18 percent of the group's turnover. The database business was renamed 4C Group, and the events unit was renamed I2i Events Group. [11] Then in October 2015 the company announced that the EMAP brand would be scrapped as all its titles move to digital-only format. [12]

In December 2015 Top Right Group rebranded as Ascential. [13] The company was the subject of an £800m initial public offering in February 2016. [14]

Acquisitions and Sales


  • Money 20/20 - Acquired [15]


  • Retail Net Group - Acquired


  • One Click Retail - Acquired [16]


  • RWM - Sold [17]
  • Clavis Insight - Acquired [18]
  • MEED - Sold [19]
  • 11 heritage brands - Sold [20]
  • MediaLink - Acquired [21]
  • HSJ - Sold [22]


  • Brand View - Acquired [23]
  • WARC - Acquired [24]
  • Flywheel Digital - Acquired [25]
  • Exhibitions - Sold [26]


Ascential operates four informational service categories focused on businesses in the digital economy. The four areas are product design, marketing, sales, and built environment and policy. [27]

Product Design



Built Environment and Policy

Previous publications

Related Research Articles

Guardian Media Group Media company of the United Kingdom

Guardian Media Group plc (GMG) is a British based mass media company owning various media operations including The Guardian and The Observer. The group is wholly owned by Scott Trust Limited, which exists to secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity.

DeHavilland Media and public affairs company

DeHavilland Information Services Ltd is a British media company that provides political monitoring services for public affairs professionals. The company was founded in 1998 by Conservative MP Adam Afriyie but is today owned by business-to-business publishing company Ascential Group.

HIT Entertainment British-American entertainment company

HIT Entertainment Ltd. is a British-American entertainment company owned by Mattel and originally established in 1982 as Henson International Television. It was founded as the international distribution arm of Jim Henson Productions. HIT owns and distributes children's television series such as Barney & Friends, Bob the Builder, Thomas & Friends, Pingu, Fireman Sam and Angelina Ballerina.

<i>New Civil Engineer</i> weekly magazine of the Institution of Civil Engineers

New Civil Engineer is the monthly magazine for members of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the UK chartered body that oversees the practice of civil engineering in the UK. First published in May 1972, it is today published by Metropolis. Under its previous publisher, Ascential, who, as Emap, acquired the title and editorial control from the ICE in 1995, the ICE regularly discussed the magazine's content through an editorial advisory board and a supervisory board.

Drapers is a business-to-business magazine and website covering the fashion retail sector. It was founded on 6 August 1887 to cover the women's clothing retail trade, but today spans the whole fashion retail sector, including wider retail issues such as digital transformation, technological advances and the management of supply chains.

Future plc British media company

Future plc is a British media company founded in 1985. It publishes more than 50 magazines in fields such as video games, technology, films, music, photography, home, and knowledge. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

<i>Mixmag</i> British electronic dance and clubbing media brand and magazine

Mixmag is a British electronic dance and clubbing media brand and magazine, published in London, England. Launched in 1982, the brand covers dance events, and reviews music, festivals and club nights. Mixmag claims to reach up to 100,000,000 people per month and has 16 international offices as of 2019. It also states that its video views have grown from 2m in 2012 to over 74m views over the year of 2018. Mixmag's YouTube channel has around 1.1 million subscribers as of June 2019.

Apax Partners company

Apax Partners LLP is a British private equity firm, headquartered in London, England. The company also operates out of six other offices in New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Munich and Shanghai. As of December 2017, the firm, including its various predecessors, have raised approximately $51 billion (USD) since 1981. Apax Partners is one of the oldest and largest private equity firms operating on an international basis, ranked the fourteenth largest private equity firm globally. is a provider of online business information about the Middle East region. Founded in the United Arab Emirates in 1993, offers English and Arabic information in daily news wires, editorial columns, feature articles, reports, video and radio features, including business directory information and event listings.

<i>Architects Journal</i> magazine

Architects' Journal is an architectural magazine published in London by Metropolis International.

Auto Trader Group plc is an automotive classified advertising business. It specialises in new and second hand automotive sales, including cars sold by private sellers and trade dealers. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Informa UK-based publishing and conference company

Informa plc is a British multinational publishing, business intelligence, and exhibitions group. Headquartered in London, it is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Frasers Group plc, formerly Sports Direct International plc, is a British retailing group. Established in 1982 by Mike Ashley, the company is the United Kingdom's largest sports-goods retailer and operates roughly 670 stores worldwide. The company owns many sporting brands and trades predominantly under the brand. Other retailers owned by the company include House of Fraser, Flannels, USC and Lillywhites. The company operates under low margins.

Epicor Software Corporation is a global business software company based in Austin, TX and was founded in 1972. Its products are aimed at the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries.

<i>Health Service Journal</i> English medical journal

Health Service Journal (HSJ) is a news service which covers policy and management in the National Health Service in England.

Retail Week is a London based news magazine, website and data service covering the retail industry in the United Kingdom.

Incisive Media B2B information and events business based in London, UK

Incisive Media is a B2B information and events business. It is based in London, United Kingdom, with an office in New York City.

Bauer Media Group German multimedia conglomerate

Bauer Media Group is a German multimedia conglomerate headquartered in Hamburg, that owns more than 600 magazines, over 400 digital products and 50 radio and TV stations worldwide, as well as print shops, postal, distribution and marketing services. Bauer has a workforce of approximately 11,000, in 17 countries.


MEED, abbreviated from the former name Middle East Economic Digest, is a business intelligence tool for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), providing analysis and commentary on Middle Eastern markets, companies, people and data on the regional projects market.

<i>Construction News</i> British magazine, 1871-

Construction News is a weekly publication, plus digital and events services, primarily targeting the United Kingdom construction industry.


  1. 1 2 3 "Preliminary Results 2019" (PDF). Ascential. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  2. 1 2 "History". EMAP. Archived from the original on 17 June 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  3. "Sir David Arculus likes a challenge, so at 67 he has entered the world of wealth management". The Telegraph. 31 May 2014. Archived from the original on 11 August 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  4. "Johnston Press is still a shrewd investment". City Wire. 10 May 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  5. Brook, Stephen (21 June 2005). "Emap snaps up Scottish Radio Holdings". The Guardian . Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  6. Tryhorn, Chris (20 June 2006). "Emap France sold for £380m". Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  7. "Emap reviewing group structure following proposals". City Wire. 27 July 2007. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  8. "Emap sells Australian consumer magazines for £38m". Campaign Live. 12 September 2007. Archived from the original on 16 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  9. "Emap sells magazines and radio divisions to Bauer for £1.14bn". Campaign Live. 7 December 2007. Archived from the original on 16 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  10. Andrews, Amanda (24 December 2007). "Guardian and Apax snap up a fifth of Emap". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  11. "Emap to change name to Top Right Group and split into three". The Daily Telegraph. 28 March 2012. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  12. "Emap brand to be scrapped as all its titles move digital-only". The Guardian. 5 October 2015. Archived from the original on 25 October 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  13. "Top Right Group rebrands to Ascential". Fipp. 15 December 2015. Archived from the original on 9 August 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  14. "Guardian and Apax share £80m from Ascential flotation". The Guardian. 9 February 2016. Archived from the original on 1 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  15. Smith, Oliver. "Top Right Group eyes up £100m events takeover". City A.M. Limited. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  16. "Ascential Buys eCommerce Analyst One Click". MRWeb. MrWeb Ltd. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  17. Slow, Elizabeth. "RWM sold to Prysm Group". LetsRecycle. Environment Media Group Ltd. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  18. Taylor, Charlie. "Irish ecommerce firm Clavis Insight acquired by Ascential in €100m deal". Irish Times. The Irish Times. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  19. "Ascential has to sell MEED to Global data for $17.5 million". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  20. "Ascential sells its 11 remaining UK-based Heritage Brands to Metropolis International for £23.5M". Fusion. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  21. Atkinson, Claire. "MediaLink gets acquired by Cannes Lions operator Ascential". New York Post. NYP Holdings, Inc. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  22. Khan, Mehreen. "Ascential sells Health Service Journal for £19m". Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  23. "Reading: Brand View acquired by Ascential for £38m". The Business Magazine. Elcot Media & Events Ltd. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  24. Cherubini, Elena. "Ascential Acquires Digital Marketing Business WARC For GBP24 Million". Morningstar. Alliance News. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  25. Babcock, Stephen. "Flywheel Digital acquired by UK-based Ascential for $60M". Baltimore. Technically Media Inc. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  26. Hosking, Patrick. "ITE Group pays £300m for Ascential trade exhibitions". The Times. Times Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  27. "Ascential - Our Brands". Ascential. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  28. "BIG!". BIG!. EMAP (37): 55. 9–23 September 1992.