A Bermudan-based private equity company has acquired 50 percent of *Time* Out, the listings magazine publisher.
Oakley Capital Investments, an AIM-listed business, announced the purchase this morning.
It is the culmination of a long search by *Time* Out’s founder, Tony Elliott, to find an investment partner.
He said: “I have considered many potential investors over the last seven years to help the brand with the next phase of development and I believe that Oakley Capital, with its entrepreneurial operational focus, will help us with this.
“I genuinely believe that I have found a real partner for what I expect to be a hugely successful worldwide digital journey.”
He set up *Time* Out as a London listings guide in 1968 and over the years exported the concept to many of the world’s major capital cities. He also extended the brand into travel guides.
*Time* Out magazines now have 36 weekly versions in 24 countries. These are complemented by 22 travel magazines and city guides to some 50 cities.
It is estimated that *Time* Out has a worldwide audience of more than 17 million people a year and also claims that its digital products are growing in popularity, with 2 million unique browsers per month in London alone.
*Time* Out, which also launched iPhone apps recently, has been appointed as the official publisher of travel guides for the London 2012 Olympics.
In June, *Time* Out was named as the international consumer magazine of the year at the Periodical Publishers Association awards. But its print sale has been slipping in recent years.
In the first six months of the year, it sold an average of 58,275 copies a week, down 5.1 percent on the previous six months and 9.4 percent year on year.
But Oakley clearly feels the company has a worthwhile online future. Its director, Peter Dubens, said: “It is very rare to be able to help with such a renowned, iconic brand as *Time* Out, which over the last 42 years has provided first class editorial on culture and entertainment to over 50 cities around the world.
“We believe that we will help this brand both in its traditional media and the continued transition to digital over the coming years.”
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.