Simon Calton (left) and Simon Johnson (right) of Carlton James with Rob Hewitt of the i2Media Group.
Jane Imrie

North East publisher secures seven-figure investment from London firm

A London firm has invested in the North East publishing company behind one of the first ever mixed martial arts (MMA) magazine.

i2Media Group, the publisher behind MMA magazine Fighters Only, has secured seven-figure funding from investment specialist Carlton James Group.

Founded in Gateshead, i2Media Group launched its first self-titled publication in 2005, and has since expanded across the US, the Middle East, Ireland, Canada, South Africa and Germany.

The publisher plans to use the investment from Carlton James’ Diversified Alpha Fund to establish new international distribution agreements in countries with emerging MMA fan bases such as China, India, Eastern Europe and Australia, as well as expanding its overall digital presence.

Six new jobs have so far been created by the business’s expansion plans, with more expected to follow as the firm expands its international audience.

Rob Hewitt, founder and group chief executive at i2Media Group, commented: “We looked at a number of different investment options, but the enthusiasm shown by the Carlton James Group for what we offer, the positive relationship we have with the proactive team and their willingness to show such faith in a North East business like ours made them the right choice.

“Carlton James has access to global services and markets complimentary to our own, with particular focus on the United States and Middle East, and we have already established two very strategic partnerships in these territories with their support.”

Gosforth-based RMT Accountants & Business Advisors worked with the i2Media management team to carry out the due diligence and business planning work required to secure the investment.

Michael Cantwell, head of corporate finance at RMT Accountants, added: “i2Media is a North East business that is punching well above its weight on the international stage and now has the resources it needs in place to achieve even more.

“Being able to attract this investment into the North East shows the strength of its proposition and we’re very pleased to have been able to support Rob and his team in taking the next steps on their exciting journey.”

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