Three of the UK’s shooting magazines are to merge with other magazines. Contributors to the magazines confirm that the monthly title Sporting Rifle is to become part of the weekly Shooting Times, the monthly Shooting Gazette is to be absorbed into the monthly The Field, and the monthly Clay Shooting is to be a section in the monthly Sporting Gun.
The magazines all belong to Future Publishing, which bought TI Media in 2020. At the time, TI Media owned Shooting Times, The Field, Clay Shooting and the soon-to-close Shooting Gazette. Sporting Rifle and Clay Shooting were both part of the Future stable.
TI Media, formerly TimeInc and, before that, IPC Magazines, was once the UK’s biggest consumer magazine publisher with nearly 100 titles, including Woman’s Own, Marie-Claire and Loaded. Its sale to Future went through in March 2020, after the Competition & Markets Authority found the purchase did not raise competition concerns, subject to the sale of three competing products: World Soccer, Amateur Photographer and the technology website TrustedReviews.
The 2020 Future deal was for 38 titles and was worth £140 million. It was the fifth time The Field (founded 1853) and Shooting Times (founded 1882) had changed hands in 25 years.
Venture capitalist Cinven bought what become IPC Media from Reed Elsevier in January 1998 for £860 million. Three years later, AOL Time Warner bought IPC Media from Cinven for a total purchase price of £1.15 billion. That was the highest figure the UK magazine group achieved in the last quarter century.
Time Warner spun off its magazine arm, TimeInc, in 2014. TimeInc included US titles and a rump of UK titles. In 2017, Iowa–based publisher Meredith Corporation bought the group for US$2.8 billion. In 2018, venture capitalist Epiris Fund II bought what remained of TimeInc’s UK stable of magazines from Meredith for an undisclosed sum rumoured at the time to be US$167 million (£120 million-£130 million).
A spokesperson for Future declined to comment. Future is yet to confirm when the magazines will close.