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Major Consumer Publisher Acquires Leading B2B Publishing Enterprise

09 Aug 2011

In a major development for the local specialist magazine publishing sector, Universal Magazines has acquired the Westwick-Farrow Media business from founding owners Adrian and Yvonne Farrow. The business will retain its current staff and continue to operate from the existing Westwick-Farrow Media offices in Wahroonga on Sydney's north shore.

Westwick-Farrow publish a stable of industrial and technology-focused print and digital trade publications, including nine regular national titles, related digital editions, 11 websites and a successful events division. This bold expansion sees Universal become Australia's largest consumer niche and B2B media company.

Westwick-Farrow Media celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this year and the acquisition includes longstanding and trusted mastheads such as What's New in Electronics, What's New in Process Technology, Radio Comms Asia-Pacific and Voice+Data. All titles carry impressive CAB audits (including Verified Recipient reporting) and service some of Australia's largest and most profitable markets, including the food processing, IT, electrical and industrial manufacturing sectors.

Universal currently publishes the widely distributed landscaping B2B title Outdoor Design Source and the website and looks forward to developing the trade arm of its business with renewed drive following the acquisition. Universal also looks forward to integrating many of the successful operations fine-tuned for over 25 years in both companies to solidify its envious position as a leading Australian publisher. The move will also enhance Universal's ability to grow further by entering into new and profitable trade publishing markets in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

"We have always been interested in opportunities to advance Universal's position as a dominant media company and today's news represents such an opportunity to expand our presence into new domestic and international trade markets," said Prema Perera, CEO of Universal Magazines. "Most importantly, the deal emphasises Universal's commitment to and belief in print as well as digital media, as magazines continue to be profitable tools of communication for advertisers who want to reach engaged and receptive audiences. Westwick-Farrow has done an outstanding job of building this portfolio of print and digital titles and associated events and I see a great future for the new business at Universal. On behalf of all of us at Universal, I wish to welcome our new colleagues."

Universal plans to maintain much of the original operating structure. Current Associate Publisher Geoff Hird, who has been with Westwick-Farrow for more than 21 years and is Chairman of Publishers Australia, will stay on in his new role as Publisher of the Westwick-Farrow businesses. Today, Geoff Hird said, "I look forward to continuing to guide Westwick-Farrow through this exciting transition and to working with our colleagues at Universal to build on Westwick-Farrow's excellent foundation. This is an exciting opportunity for our team and our business."

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