Ascential plc
Company typePublic limited company
FTSE 250 Component
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Key people
Scott Forbes, (Chairman)
Duncan Painter (CEO)
RevenueIncrease £206.4 million (2023)[1]
Increase £51.5 million (2023)[1]
Decrease £5.8 million (2023)[1]

Ascential plc (formerly EMAP) is a British business-to-business media company specialising in exhibitions & festivals and information services. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


Richard Winfrey purchased the Spalding Guardian in 1887 and later purchased the Lynn News and the Peterborough Advertiser; he also started the North Cambs Echo. He became a Liberal politician and campaigner for agricultural rights and the papers were used to promote his political views in and around Spalding, Boston, Sleaford and Peterborough. During World War II Winfrey's newspaper interests began to be passed over to his son, Richard Pattinson Winfrey (1902–1985). In 1947, under the direction of 'Pat' Winfrey, the family's newspaper titles were consolidated to form the East Midland Allied Press (EMAP): this was achieved by the merger of the Northamptonshire Printing and Publishing Company, the Peterborough Advertiser Company, the West Norfolk and King's Lynn Newspaper Company and commercial printing sections at Rushden, King's Lynn and Bury St Edmunds.[2]

The magazine division was founded on a hunch when the company's printing presses lay dormant between printing issues of the local papers. The staff gambled that a weekly angling publication would be a hit - and in 1953 Angling Times was born. This was soon joined by another weekly heavyweight when EMAP bought Motor Cycle News from its founder in 1956 for a hundred pounds.[2] EMAP grew significantly in the late 1970s under the guidance of the extremely successful partnership of Sir Robin Miller and David Arculus.[3] In 1992 and 1993, EMAP moved into trade magazines by acquiring titles from Maxwell Communication and Thomson.[4] In 1996 EMAP agreed to sell its 65 newspaper titles, including the 300-year-old Stamford Mercury, to Johnston Press for £111 million.[5]

Scottish Radio Holdings was acquired by EMAP on 21 June 2005.[6] In 2006, EMAP sold its French division to Italy's Arnoldo Mondadori Editore.[7] On 27 July 2007, EMAP announced that it was undertaking a review of the structure of the group in response to receiving a number of unsolicited proposals to purchase parts of the company.[8] On 12 September 2007, EMAP announced that it had completed the disposal of its Australian consumer magazine division, Emap Australia for approximately £38m to ACP Magazines.[9] On 29 January 2008, EMAP completed the sale of its radio, television and consumer media businesses (EMAP Radio) to German company Bauer for £1.14bn.[10] The remainder of the company was taken over by Eden Bidco Ltd, a company incorporated for the purpose of the acquisition by its owners, the private equity investment group Apax and the Guardian Media Group in late March/early April 2008.[11]

In March 2012, the company announced that it would be renamed Top Right Group, and that its magazines, events and data businesses would be separated into three standalone companies. The EMAP name would continue to be used for the magazines operation, which at the time accounted for around 18 per cent of the group's turnover. The database business was renamed 4C Group, and the events unit was renamed I2i Events Group.[12] Then in October 2015 the company announced that the EMAP brand would be scrapped as all its titles move to digital-only format.[13]

In February 2015, Top Right Group sold Media Business Insight (including Broadcast, Shots and Screen International) to Mobeus Equity Partners and Tenzing PE.[14]

In December 2015 Top Right Group rebranded as Ascential.[15] The company was the subject of an £800m initial public offering in February 2016.[16] The Guardian Media Group sold off its shares of Ascential in 2016 and 2017.[17]

In June 2017, Ascential sold heritage brands (business-to-business titles) to Metropolis International. The transaction include the rights to EMAP name (as EMAP Publishing Ltd).[18]

Acquisitions and sales







Ascential operates four informational service categories focused on businesses in the digital economy. The four areas are product design, marketing, sales, and built environment and policy.[31]

Product Design



Built Environment and Policy

Previous publications


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2023" (PDF). Ascential. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b "History". EMAP. Archived from the original on 17 June 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Sir David Arculus likes a challenge, so at 67 he has entered the world of wealth management". The Telegraph. 31 May 2014. Archived from the original on 11 August 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Emap buys Thomson titles in pounds 21m deal". The Independent. 18 February 1993.
  5. ^ "Johnston Press is still a shrewd investment". City Wire. 10 May 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  6. ^ Brook, Stephen (21 June 2005). "Emap snaps up Scottish Radio Holdings". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  7. ^ Tryhorn, Chris (20 June 2006). "Emap France sold for £380m". Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Emap reviewing group structure following proposals". City Wire. 27 July 2007. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Emap sells Australian consumer magazines for £38m". Campaign Live. 12 September 2007. Archived from the original on 16 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Emap sells magazines and radio divisions to Bauer for £1.14bn". Campaign Live. 7 December 2007. Archived from the original on 16 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  11. ^ Andrews, Amanda (24 December 2007). "Guardian and Apax snap up a fifth of Emap". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  12. ^ "Emap to change name to Top Right Group and split into three". The Daily Telegraph. 28 March 2012. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Emap brand to be scrapped as all its titles move digital-only". The Guardian. 5 October 2015. Archived from the original on 25 October 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Broadcast-owner completes management buy-out". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Top Right Group rebrands to Ascential". Fipp. 15 December 2015. Archived from the original on 9 August 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Guardian and Apax share £80m from Ascential flotation". The Guardian. 9 February 2016. Archived from the original on 1 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Guardian Media Group announces outcome of three year turnaround strategy". Guardian Media Group. 1 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Ascential sells 11 former Emap magazine brands to Metropolis for £23.5m". Press Gazette. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2023.
  19. ^ Smith, Oliver (26 October 2014). "Top Right Group eyes up £100m events takeover". City A.M. Limited. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Ascential Buys eCommerce Analyst One Click". MRWeb. MrWeb Ltd. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  21. ^ Slow, Elizabeth. "RWM sold to Prysm Group". LetsRecycle. Environment Media Group Ltd. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  22. ^ Taylor, Charlie. "Irish ecommerce firm Clavis Insight acquired by Ascential in €100m deal". Irish Times. The Irish Times. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Ascential has to sell MEED to Global data for $17.5 million". Reuters. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Ascential sells its 11 remaining UK-based Heritage Brands to Metropolis International for £23.5M". Fusion. June 2017. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  25. ^ Atkinson, Claire (7 February 2017). "MediaLink gets acquired by Cannes Lions operator Ascential". New York Post. NYP Holdings, Inc. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  26. ^ Khan, Mehreen. "Ascential sells Health Service Journal for £19m". Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  27. ^ "Reading: Brand View acquired by Ascential for £38m". The Business Magazine. Elcot Media & Events Ltd. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  28. ^ Cherubini, Elena. "Ascential Acquires Digital Marketing Business WARC For GBP24 Million". Morningstar. Alliance News. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  29. ^ Babcock, Stephen (8 November 2018). "Flywheel Digital acquired by UK-based Ascential for $60M". Baltimore. Technically Media Inc. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  30. ^ Hosking, Patrick. "ITE Group pays £300m for Ascential trade exhibitions". The Times. Times Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  31. ^ "Ascential - Our Brands". Ascential. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  32. ^ "BIG!". BIG! (37). EMAP: 55. 9–23 September 1992.