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Pistonheads.com sold to Haymarket Publishing Group

Fusion Corporate Partners is pleased to announce the sale of car enthusiast community website www.pistonheads.com to Haymarket Publishing Group Ltd, the UK’s largest privately owned magazine publisher.

Pistonheads.com was founded by Dave Edmonston eight years ago with an initial target audience of fellow TVR owners, but has grown to be a very successful car enthusiast community site with over 900,000 unique users each month, who in total view over 28 million page impressions and spend an average of 14 minutes on the site per visit.

With this usage, Haymarket sees potential for advertising revenue from this specific target audience. David Prasher, Sales Director for Haymarket Motoring, said, "We already have the UK's most successful online buyer's guide in whatcar.com and Pistonheads now gives our advertisers the opportunity to reach a huge, influential enthusiast audience. Our research shows that its users are instrumental in car purchases of all kinds."

The acquisition represents Haymarket Publishing’s first move into the dedicated community- website business and the company believes the acquisition of www.pistonheads.com will be a perfect complement to Haymarket’s existing car titles, What Car? (www.whatcar.com), which is a ‘buyer’s guide’, and Autocar (www.autocar.co.uk), which focuses on road-testing and new car news.

Patrick Fuller, Haymarket Motoring Publishing Director, said: “The website will represent the third pillar of Haymarket’s motoring business. It is a brilliant online community for anyone who is mad about cars, where they can communicate with like-minded enthusiasts as well as share their experiences and offer each other advice. It is also a perfect fit for our other motoring sites.”

The new owners do not plan to introduce radical changes to www.pistonheads.com. “We will be bringing an established motoring environment to the www.pistonheads.com website which is already massively popular amongst car enthusiasts,” said Fuller. “If we can extend and expand its audience reach, we will, but we think this is a first-class business and, unless we can make genuine improvements, we do not intend to tinker under the bonnet too much.”

Dave Edmonston will continue to oversee the day to day running of the website from Haymarket’s offices at Teddington, Middlesex, said, “I have realised a dream with the success of www.pistonheads.com and I am delighted that I will still be playing a key role in the future of the business. I am happy and comfortable that Haymarket Publishing will respect the integrity of our site and its loyal members, and bring their long tradition of expertise in the motoring sector to support and broaden our own community.”

Kevin Costello, Managing Director, of Haymarket Publishing’s Consumer Group, said, “This is a very exciting acquisition for us, giving us access to a target audience of people with the same interests and we hope our experience in this area will benefit www.pistonheads.com as well as giving our own business a new dimension.”

Paul Slight, Partner, at Fusion says Pistonheads.com represents a leading example of a pure play content/community site that has developed a substantial readership in only a few years many times higher than the long established offline competition. Many such sites, however, find it difficult to monetise this loyal traffic: the opportunity therefore exists for deals such as this where the established offline media groups can bring the full benefit of their digital ad sales engine to immediately monetise that traffic, this creating significant value. Fusion expects a number of similar transactions to occur during 2007.

Fusion acted exclusively for Dave Edmonston in the transaction. The partner responsible for this transaction was Paul Slight pslight@fusioncorp.co.uk

Published:

Paul Slight

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