Another day, another surprising ABC development. Limelight magazine, the ABC’s listening and viewing guide whose future was placed in jeopardy recently when its publisher iMedia Asia Pacific went into administration, has been taken over by Haymarket Publishing, owned by former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Lord Michael Heseltine. The deal was sealed on Tuesday.

Crikey’s heard that other
bidders are feeling a bit confused at the way the deal was
handled by iMedia administrators Nicols+Brien. After attempting to put
in a bid, we were told that ABC Enterprises would “only deal with
Haymarket”, says Art & Australia editor Katrina Schwarz, even though we made our “interest in Limelight very

In Britain, Haymarket produces a vast range of titles, including magazines for the BBC, as well as iconic music mag, The Gramophone. The company is quite a natural fit for the ABC, and the new
relationship should provide plenty of opportunities for cost-saving
copy sharing arrangements.

Apparently Haymarket proved its mettle by helping the ABC to publish an edition of Limelight after
iMedia had gone to ground and the grateful head of ABC Enterprises,
Robyn Watts, was instrumental in negotiating the new deal. Haymarket
was clearly pretty confident about this arrangement – Crikey has heard
that the publisher re-employed Limelight editor Fred Pawle to the publication before the deal had even been finalised.

It’s understood that Haymarket had been looking for an in with the ABC. Now they’ve found one.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey