JPIMedia acquires Johnston Press Group businesses

Johnston PressJPIMedia, a newly-formed company owned by bondholders of Johnston Press, has acquired the group after the publisher put itself into administration. Johnston Press, which owns papers including the i, The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post, had been looking to refinance £220m of debt due to be repaid in June next year.

As part of the transaction, the bondholders have agreed to reduce the level of senior secured debt by £135m (more than 60%), from £220m to £85m, with extended debt maturity to December 2023. Additionally, the bondholders have provided £35m of additional funding for the business.

David King, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Group, becomes Chief Executive of JPIMedia. He said, “The sale of the business to JPIMedia is an important one for the Johnston Press businesses as it ensures that operations can continue as normal, with employees’ rights maintained, suppliers paid, and newspapers printed. We will focus on ensuring the group’s titles continue to publish the high-quality journalism we are known for and which has never been more important. I look forward to working with JPIMedia to assess and implement the opportunities available to us in the future, underpinned by a stronger balance sheet.”

UK, Edinburgh

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Johnston Press sells its Irish titles to Iconic Press

Johnston Press plc is selling Formpress Publishing Limited, which holds the trade and assets of its Republic of Ireland operations, to Iconic Newspapers Ltd for £7.2 million.

Following the Disposal, the Group will have no ongoing trading operations in the Republic of Ireland, other than the retention of certain leasehold and freehold property interests. The Group will continue to provide printing facilities to Iconic Newspapers Ltd for a certain period post Disposal. It is also intended that certain leasehold properties will be sub-leased to Formpress post Disposal. The Group is retaining its Northern Irish titles including The Newsletter and Derry Journal (which are also sold in the Republic).

Iconic Newspapers Limited is a company in the same corporate group as Mediaforce Limited, which is the Group’s national advertisement sales representative in the United Kingdom, and is ultimately owned by Malcolm Denmark.

For the 52 weeks ended 28 December 2013, the operating profit before exceptional items for the assets subject to the Disposal amounted to €1.3 million.

Chief Executive Officer of Johnston Press, Ashley Highfield, said: “The disposal of our trade and assets in the Republic of Ireland will increase our ability to focus on the growth of our business in the United Kingdom and in particular our digital initiatives, in line with our stated strategy. We believe that it is in the Group’s best interests to dedicate our resources to these opportunities.

I would like to thank the staff of our Irish business for their loyalty and dedication over the years and we wish them well for a successful future.”

UK, Edinburgh & Ireland, Dublin

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Johnston Press interim profits halve Posted on August 26, 2011