Who’d have thought “goodwill impairment” could be so expensive?

Both my regular readers will know that I’ve been growlingly bearish for ages on the potential for financial trade press titles to maintain their advertising sales revenues.

Basically, I’ve been saying that product providers just don’t want to reach the broad mass of financial advisers any more.  They recognise that the product selection decisions are increasingly taken upstream – as far as investments are concerned, by a whole bunch of specialists called things like multi-managers, model portfolio managers, DFMs, investment research departments, investment platforms and a bunch of others.

This all sounded like an interesting but potentially totally mistaken argument – until the leading trade press media group, Centaur, announced their 2012 financial results a few days ago.

The trading performance was far from brilliant, especially as far as advertising revenues were concerned.  But the figure that really jumped out was the exceptional item in respect of “goodwill impairment” – which, as far as I can understand it, puts a value on the group’s assets related to their future revenue-generating potential.

In a total “impairment” across the group of just about £40 million, the financial division alone took a hit of £14 million – reducing its goodwill value by over half, from around £26 to around £12 million.  That is a lorra lorra impairment, especially in the space of a single year.

I’m sure it’s taken a lot of beanies a lot of hard work with their calculators to get to that figure.  I suspect there could have been an easier way.  A simple measurement carried out with thumb and forefinger says that the thickness of Money Marketing is down by just about exactly the same proportion, a little over 50%, year on year.

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