Condé Nast Publications and Hearst Magazines UK have finally pulled out of the distribution business they set up together, after it posted losses last year. Comag Marketing Business was founded in 1977 and was jointly owned by Hearst Magazines UK (65%) and Condé Nast Publications (35%). Independent third-party clients comprised more than 60% of the revenue. In 2012, the co-owners had sold the US division to Vancouver-based Jim Pattison Group.
The joint statement from the companies said, “Hearst UK and Condé Nast Britain have decided to withdraw from the jointly-held magazine distributor, Comag. Comag will be consulting with its staff and will also remain in close contact with its clients and suppliers. The shareholders are committed to this being a thorough, well-managed process for all parties.”
Comag’s website informs: “Comag Group has approximately 23% share of the UK newsstand market and about 30% of the third-party business available.” The group essentially used to provide distribution and logistics management for magazines, partworks and collectables to the UK retail news trade; deliver copies to a network of retailers by Menzies Distribution and Smiths News; and cover all frequency of publications including dailies.
In February 2016, Condé Nast and Hearst Magazines had announced a new entity, PubWorx to handle production, procurement and circulation management for both publishers. Both publishers hold 50% stake in the company, led by CEO Al Perruzza. In March 2017, PubWorx acquired ProCirc, a circulation outsourcing company. Hearst UK publishes 24 magazines and website titles such as Good Housekeeping, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Red, Men’s Health, while Condé Nast Britain publishes 16 magazines and websites including Vogue, GQ, Tatler, Wired and Vanity Fair.