Lad Bible group at focal point of becoming £200m-turnover business

Solly Solomou

LBG Media, the listed Manchester-based social media and content business, is at “a significant juncture in its evolution” it said today, announcing its full year unaudited final results for 2023.

It said its positive revenue momentum and platform for growth in the US are the foundations for further progress, with the 2024 financial year indicating positive momentum.

LBG’s strategy is to create a model that can achieve £200m of revenue.

In the year to December 31, 2023, LBG achieved turnover of £67.5m, in line with its December 2023 trading update, compared with £62.8m the previous year.

Pre-tax profits of £5.9m were down on the £7.3m 2022 figure. Last October the group acquired US-based digital media brand Betches in a £19.3m deal.

Cash and cash equivalents stood at £15.8m at the end of the financial year, compared with £29.3m the prior year, which reflect the acquisition of Betches. As of April 17, casn and cash equivalents were £22m.

The group predicted that improvements in its operating model in Australia & New Zealand (ANZ) are expected to drive improved profitability in 2024.

Global audience grew by 24% year-on-year, to 452m, with a US audience of 141m, including the acquisition of Betches.

Video views of 128bn were up 31% year-on-year, demonstrative of LBG’s market leading levels of user engagement, it said.

CEO, Solly Solomou, said: “Our revenue and EBITDA growth in 2023 demonstrates the group’s unique position and resilience in the face of some really testing market conditions. The strategic and operational progress we have made this year provides impetus and puts us in a strong position to realise our ambitions.

“Our global audience has increased to 452m and we have significantly strengthened our presence in the US, the world’s largest advertising market, organically and through the acquisition of Betches. The scale of our audience, strength of our brands, and market leading engagement within our communities truly sets us apart and our ability to provide real time insight and analysis to clients is a unique selling point.”

He added: “We have always believed in our responsibility for using our platforms and original content creation capabilities to champion socially responsible causes. Major campaigns in the year have included the ‘Have A Word’ campaign, with the Mayor of London, calling on men to challenge misogyny and partnering with The Prince’s Trust to safeguard young people’s careers, among other initiatives with charities such as If U Care Share and World Vision.

“As one of the world’s largest digital entertainment businesses, our relationships with large blue-chip advertisers continue to deepen and grow, with an increasing roster of brands working with us year-after-year.

“We operate in the largest and fastest growing segment of the advertising market and provide an unparalleled proposition for brands wanting to access young adult audiences. Combined with ongoing expansion in the US market and our diverse revenue model, we are confident in our position to create significant value for shareholders in the years ahead.”

LBG said its positive revenue momentum and platform for growth in the US leaves it at a significant juncture in its evolution and provides a clear line of sight to achieving £200m of revenue.

It said it has made a good start to 2024, entering the second quarter with positive momentum, along with the incremental impact of Betches and the ANZ operating model changes.

As with prior years, revenue will be affected by the seasonality in advertising spend, with adjusted EBITDA weighted towards the second half given that operating costs are relatively evenly spread across the year.

Notwithstanding that, the group remains on track to deliver market expectations for the full year, which are revenue of £86.1m and adjusted EBITDA of £23.5m.