Belfast Telegraph

Time Out in advanced talks to bring popular food market to London

Media group Time Out confirmed it was in advanced talks to bring its popular food market to London as it looks to expand after its junior stock market flotation in the summer.

Time Out Market is set to launch in the capital next, as well as in Porto in Portugal, building on the success of its food markets business in Lisbon, which attracted 1.3 million visitors in the first half of the year.

It is yet to disclose plans for the location of its London food market.

The group also has Miami, New York and Berlin in its sights.

Details of the London food market discussions came as it posted its first set of results since listing on the Aim market in June, with losses narrowed and higher group revenues for the six months to June 30.

Time Out, which has expanded from a listings magazine into a global digital media and e-commerce group in recent years , posted an underlying half-year loss of £4.4 million against losses of £5.6 million a year earlier.

The operating loss was £7.3 million, down marginally on the £7.4 million seen a year ago.

It notched up a 12% rise in group revenues to £15.1 million, or 10% higher with currency changes stripped out, helped by a 24% surge in digital advertising revenues.

But it said it was up against a more difficult advertising market in the UK, with the rise in automatic ad placing putting pressure on revenues.

Print advertising fell 2% in the first half, with the UK hit harder than other areas, such as the US.

Julio Bruno, chief executive of Time Out Group, said the group had " opened an exciting new chapter" when it floated in June.

But its shares, which listed at 150p, immediately dropped to 130p in the first day of trading and remain below the list price, at around 139.5p at current prices.

The group raised £90 million through the initial public offering to fund expansion of its food markets business and pay down debt.

Former Marks & Spencer boss Lord Stuart Rose, who was already a director of Time Out's market arm, joined the board of the company when it listed.

Time Out's founder Tony Elliott also became a non-executive director.

On its food market plans, Mr Bruno said: " I'm also very pleased with the excellent results for Time Out Market Lisbon. It has been a successful and profitable proof of the format and we can't wait to roll it out to other cities."

Mr Elliott founded Time Out as a London entertainment and culture magazine in 1968, but the firm is now a global brand with magazines, apps and websites, while it launched its first food market in 2014.