Spears, the multi-PPA-award-winning wealth management magazine that was started in 2005 has been taken independent again as a stand-alone title following a management buy-out led by founder William Cash.
Spear’s magazine in management buy-out as UK’s leading wealth management consumer title thrives in credit crunch
Editor William Cash takes multi-award winning title independent as Spear’s raises finance to expand globally after the success of Spear’s Russia
Spear’s, the multi-PPA-award-winning wealth management magazine that was started in 2005 has been taken independent again as a stand-alone title following a management buy-out led by founder William Cash.
Cash, who won Editor of the Year in both 2007 and 2008 at the PPA Independent Publisher Awards, has led the buy-out which will see him acquiring a 67% interest in the Spear’s media brand, backed by private equity firm Nectar Capital who will have 33% of the business. Private investment has provided the funding for the buy-out.
After just four issues, Spear’s was sold back in July 2007 for around £1.2 million to Luxury Publishing, a high-end contract publishing firm that produces titles for brands like Cartier, Graff, and Candy & Candy (click here to see Press Gazette story). With the advertising downturn hitting contract publishing hard, and with Spear’s flourishing in the credit crunch, Cash decided to team up with Nectar Capital to procure the Spear’s brand and take the successful financial title independent again.
Editor-in-Chief William Cash said: ‘The wealth management magazine space has never been more exciting and more filled with opportunities for the magazine ready to seize them. When our readers subscribe, they know that they are getting exclusive and reliable intelligence and analysis on everything from tax and trusts to art and property. By taking Spear’s independent again and expanding the business into book publishing and further onto the web, we will continue to outwit the recession.’
Scott Rudmann of Nectar Capital, which participated in the buy-out, said: ‘We are pleased to participate with William Cash in a management buy-out of Spear’s magazine. Spear’s has proven itself a clear, sought-after, and respected voice in the recent financial crisis, with growing demand from subscribers and strong demand by advertisers for presence in the magazine even in the current climate. The recent launch of the Russian edition and impending Asian launch re-affirm Spear’s global appeal.’
As financial magazines are folding the world over – Business Week, Forbes Europe, Conde Nast’s Portfolio – Spear’s, which is sent directly to Spear’s 30,000 high-net-worth readers, as well distributed in BA First Class lounges, has managed to turn the recession into a success story.
Bucking the trend of magazines going out of business, the credit crisis has been the making of Spear’s. Spear’s has jumped at the opportunity of the credit crunch to establish itself as must-read in these precarious financial times.
Josh Spero, Senior Editor
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Each issue has provided our 55,000 readers (circulation 27,000) with unrivalled Power Indices of the top lawyers, bankers, art advisors, tax advisors, property experts, with the Spear’s team carrying out exhaustive interviews and research to make the title an essential resource for high-net-worths, giving them rankings and ratings of private client services that they can get nowhere else. This has meant Spear’s becoming recognised today as the Zagat guide to the maze of wealth management.
For Cash’s innovative and intuitive skill in using witty, well known writers who don’t normally write about money to report on the often secret and inaccessible world of wealth management, banking and high finance, Spear’s was last year shortlisted against The Spectator for Best Specialist Magazine of the Year at the British Society of Magazine Editors Awards.
Cash also brought in the Spear’s award-winning cover artist Adam Dant, winner of the 2002 Jerwood Prize. The Guardian have featured a whole page on one of Spear’s most memorable covers, The Art of Hedge, (issue number 3), including an interview with Adam Dant whom the paper’s art writer called a ‘Hogarth for Our Times’. The FT also followed with extensive coverage of Dant’s cover art for Spear’s, including his acclaimed series The Triumph of Debt.
Spear’s has jumped at the opportunity of the credit crunch to establish itself as ‘must-read’ in these precarious financial times. The last year has been a year of continued innovation with the Evening Standard referring to Spear’s as a ‘European Rival to Forbes’ and GQ singling out the publication as the new ‘Bible’ of banking and personal finance magazines.
Under Cash’s editorship, the magazine has acquired a reputation for using a quirky mix of engaging writers – from Peter York to Luke Johnson – to demystify the world of finance in an accessible way. Over the last two years, Spear’s has written about such subjects as the Non Dom tax debate, pre-nups and and the banking crisis, months before they have entered the media mainstream.
Whilst America has long had a tradition of personal finance magazines like Forbes and Fortune, Spear’s has quickly become the leading example of the genre across Europe. Germany’s leading magazine, Der Spiegel, devoted an entire page to reporting on the cult following the magazine has now acquired under Cash’s colourful editorship. Spear’s was shortlisted for ‘Magazine of the Year’ – alongside The Spectator – at the 2007 annual awards of the British Society of Magazine Editors; in 2007, after its first 12 months, Spear’s was shortlisted for Best Magazine Launch of the Year.
Spear’s is now uniquely positioned for rapid growth in 2009/10. The title has quickly won a cult following from the high-net-worth community both in the UK and internationally, it has been acclaimed by the magazine industry and continues to have ‘first footing’ in the media marketplace as Europe’s premier wealth management consumer magazine.
In 2008, Spear’s Russia was launched to acclaim and – with high-net-worth community more than ever looking for savvy and independent financial advice to protect their personal wealth – a perfect platform exists to grow the brand with a view to short to medium term financial media trade sale.
Whilst the credit crunch has hit much of the media industry hard, it has actually presented a unique opportunity for Spear’s to grow its business and diversify into a multiple revenue business that continues to be the leader in its sector and is not simply dependent on advertising.
The quality of our exclusive content continues to win awards and outshine our rivals; Spear’s has already achieved considerable success doing special supplements for banks like JP Morgan Private Bank and Pictet and we believe a large potential revenue stream is in publishing special supplements that market off-shore banking facilities in countries – Cayman Islands, Panama, BVI, Singapore etc – that are attempting to market themselves as new off-shore centres that offer an alternative to traditional tax shelters like Switzerland and Monaco.
Ironically, because so many of our readers do no longer trust the banks or their financial advisors – who were all wrong footed by the credit crunch – there has never been more of a need for a wealth orientated media brand that prides itself on its objective and independent assessment of asset managers, lawyers, bankers, family offices, art advisors and so on.
Spear’s is unique in being the only media brand that currently does this and we believe that our Power Indexes – backed up with Spear’s TV which will allow filming of events (sponsored by banks and law firms etc) and web-streaming of video interviews of individuals featured in our Power Indexes – will continue to make our product unique.
We are expecting strong revenue growth from providing those individuals featured in the Power Indexes with the opportunity to have a paid for short 3-5 minute video of themselves interviewed by Spear’s TV web-streamed onto their ranking on the Spear’s Power Index. This will act as a magnet for new clients wanting to do a ‘beauty parade’ on-line, whether from their villa in Switzerland or their hotel room in Russia.
Spear’s has become a firm favourite for those who want top-flight intelligence and analysis of the economic world today. We have been living up to our reputation as the New Yorker of the financial world, and the recession has only expanded our readership as people search for a magazine they can trust. We have continued to set the agenda, with William being interviewed on the Today programme and the mainstream media following up on our stories.
A witty, independent and entertaining quarterly, Spear’s has flourished into a wealth management brand with the magazine in English and Russian editions, a re-launched spearswms.com and both Book and Wealth Management Awards (‘the Oscars of the financial world’ – Evening Standard). The Spear’s Book Awards were mentioned by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight.
Each issue of Spear’s provides our 55,000 readers (30,000 circulation) – drawn from the high-net-worth community, and the wealth management sector, with Power Indices of the top professionals in wealth management, giving them rankings for private client services that they can get nowhere else. Our writers on economics and wealth management are always one step ahead of major financial developments and trends, and William has assembled a young, dynamic team, which includes senior editor Josh Spero, named one of the Observer’s 500 rising stars.
The year 2008/9 has seen continued innovation, with a greater focus on striking design as well as strong content – our Hotels Power Index with its Monopoly layout has been one of our most successful. Thanks to spearswms.com, we have been able to report on the spot from the most important events: Josh Spero was liveblogging at the G20. We have also not been afraid to speak the truth to our powerful readers: we regularly criticise tax exiles and examine the moral dimensions of finance.