Guardian Media Group is selling its 50.1% stake in Auto Trader owner Trader Media Group to private equity firm Apax Partners in a deal thought to be worth £600m to £700m to the Guardian publisher.
The sale to Apax, which bought 49.9% of Trader Media Group in 2007 and has been GMG’s joint venture partner in the business since then, is thought to give TMG an enterprise value of about £1.8bn. The exact financial details of the deal were not revealed.
GMG’s sale of the TMG stake is subject to reguatory approval and final completion.
Andrew Miller, the chief executive of GMG, said: “This proposed transaction makes strategic sense as we focus GMG’s activities on award-winning digital and print journalism. On completion, the sale proceeds will strengthen our balance sheet and position us for further investment and growth in our core business.”
Neil Berkett, the chair of the GMG board, said: “Once completed, this deal will make GMG a very well-capitalised media organisation with the financial flexibility to navigate the rapidly-changing media environment, where our flagship titles are proven pioneers of digital and print innovation.”
The Scott Trust, sole shareholder in GMG, has given its approval for the proposed sale and authorised the company board to reinvest the proceeds to enable it to continue to safeguard the Guardian’s editorial and financial independence.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised GMG on the deal.
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