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Highbury magazines picked off after company's collapse

LONDON – Three different companies yesterday bought Highbury's remaining magazines after the publisher went into administration last Friday.

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Highbury was unable to cope with the weight of its debts, estimated at £27m, and failed despite a rescue attempt by former Sun editor and radio investor Kelvin MacKenzie last year.

Twenty-four computing and videogames titles, including Play, PC Home and iCreate, all based in Bournemouth, were acquired by Imagine Publishing.

Imagine, also based in Bournemouth, was formed in May 2005 and is led by former directors of Paragon, which owned many of these magazines before selling them to Highbury in 2003. They include Damian Butt, now managing director, and Steven Boyd, finance director.

Imagine's venture capital investor Kleinwort Capital invested £2.7m to fund the acquisition, taking its total investment to date in Imagine to £7m.

Less is known about the other two companies that stepped in for Highbury's six remaining magazines.

Three consumer magazines, Front, Hotdog and DVD World, were picked up by a business called SMD Publishing, which according to Companies House data is based in London and was originally incorporated as Astroplan on December 6 2005 before changing its name yesterday.

A number of craft titles have gone to another business called Brush Colour or Encanta Media, which Companies House data indicates is based in Leeds and was incorporated on December 8. It changed its name from Brush Colour to Encanta Media on Friday January 20.

Highbury's craft titles last year included Crazy Crafts, Popular Patchwork and Practical Woodworking, although it could not be confirmed how many have survived the company's difficulties.

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