Venture capitalist company 3i has backed a &£14m management buy-in team to take over specialist computer title publishers Paragon.
Mark Simpson, former managing director at Thomson-owned financial publisher IFR, and a former board director at Miller Freeman has led the buy-in and joins as managing director.
He is joined by Clifford Jakes, former managing director of publications at United News and Media, who joined the company as non-executive chairman last year. He retains his title.
Richard Monteiro and Diane Bedford, founding partners and former joint managing directors of Paragon, will remain as consultants and retain a small but undisclosed stake in the company.
Simpson says: “I’ve led the management buy-in team, which will deal with a business that now employs more than 90 people and has profits of &£3m.”
It is likely that 3i, which has had a small stake in Paragon for the past 18 months, is attracted by the high growth potential of the company’s portfolio because it specialises in the high growth Internet and computer game sectors.
Bournemouth-based Paragon has a portfolio of ten magazines which includes 64 Magazine, Internet Access Made Easy, Practical Internet and What’s Online. Practical Internet grew 35 per cent last year from a circulation of 11,299 to 15,214. The Internet magazine sector grew by nearly 21 per cent year on year, while the PC game magazine market grew by 29 per cent.