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Felix Dennis

Table of contents 

This note considers UK publisher Felix Dennis, who has variously been compared to Hugh Hefner and Bernarr MacFadden.


It covers -

  • introduction
  • holdings
  • studies
  • landmarks

Introduction

Felix Dennis, recurrently characterised as "one of Britain's best known entrepreneurs", was born in Kingston-upon-Thames in 1947, studied at Harrow College of Art and was briefly imprisoned as a co-editor of OZ magazine. Following acquittal by the High Court of Appeal he founded a magazine publishing company in 1973, initially concentrating on personal computers and music.

Sale of Personal Computer World and MacUser was lucrative, as was Dennis' involvement in a US mail order company. He subsequently gained attention as a leading UK 'lads' magazine publisher (notably Maxim).

In June 2007 Dennis' US arm - Dennis Publishing (with lad mags Maxim, Stuff and Blender) - was acquired for an undisclosed price by private equity fund Quadrangle Capital Partners II. Dennis's UK operation retains one of its US magazines, The Week.

Holdings

Dennis Publishing imprints include -

  • The Week - news
  • Auto Express - cars
  • Stuff - mens
  • Computer Shopper
  • Blender - music
  • Evo
  • Viz
  • Maxim - mens
  • Jack
  • Bizarre
  • Fortean Times
  • Men's Fitness
  • Shape

Studies

There are no major studies of Dennis.

We were unimpressed by Dennis' How To Get Rich (London: Ebury Press 2006) or his poetry. A Glass Half Full (London: Hutchinson 2002) was claimed to be "one of the biggest selling books of original verse in England for years" but for us is redolent of John Laws.

For the Oz trial see Geoffrey Robertson's The Justice Game (London: Chatto & Windus 1998)

Landmarks

1971 Felix Dennis briefly imprisoned following OZ magazine

1971 acquitted by High Court of Appeal

1973 founds Dennis Publishing

1974 launches Kung Fu Monthly

1977 acquires Hi-Fi Choice

1978 acquires Which Bike?

1979 acquires Personal computing magazine

1983 sells Personal Computer World to VNU for £3m

1985 launches MacUser

1987 Dennis, Peter Godfrey and Robert Bartner co-found Mac Warehouse (later Micro Warehouse)

1987 sells MacUser to Ziff-Davis Publishing for US$26m

1992 Mac Warehouse IPO on NASDAQ as Micro Warehouse, Inc

1994 launches IT magazine

1994 launches PCPro

1995 sells most of stake in Micro Warehouse for US$83m

1995 launches Maxim

1997 launches US edition of Maxim

1997 launches Stuff in UK

1998 launches US edition of Stuff

2000 launches PS home-shopping magazine

2001 launches Blender

2001 launches The Week

2003 buys I Feel Good Ltd (Jack, Viz, Bizarre and Fortean Times) for £5.1m

2007 sells US Maxim, Stuff and Blender to Quadrangle Capital Partners II