Mediahuis to acquire Irish newspaper group INM for GBP 125.7M

MediahuisEuropean media group Mediahuis has agreed to buy Ireland’s largest newspaper group, Independent News & Media, for GBP 125.7 million in its first major deal outside Belgium and the Netherlands. Under the terms of the acquisition, INM shareholders will receive 10.5 cents (9p) per share.

INM publishes the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent, the Sunday World, The Herald, the Belfast Telegraph and other regional newspapers, accounting for more than 50% of the daily market and over 65% of the Sunday market in the Republic of Ireland.

Privately-owned Mediahuis, which sells more than 1.4 million newspapers a day in The Netherlands and Belgium including the De Telegraaf and De Standaard titles, said it saw a big potential in improving the Irish company’s online business. Founded in 2013, Mediahuis has grown rapidly through acquisitions and has a track record of combining innovative journalism with digital subscription services and paywalls.

Mediahuis chairman Thomas Leysen said, “We have the resources and the capabilities to further the digital transformation and enhance the digital capabilities of INM. We think it’s a good match”.

Belgium, Antwerp & Ireland, Dublin

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DC Thomson Media acquires PSP Media

DC Thomson MediaDC Thomson Media has acquired PSP Media, a Glasgow-based publisher and event specialist. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Having bought No.1 magazine from PSP Media in 2015, a number of adjacencies and synergies were identified between the two businesses. With this acquisition, DC Thomson Media enters new markets including both B2B and B2C events and exhibitions of scale, and contract publishing.

Mike Watson, Chief Executive Officer at DC Thomson Media, said, “I’m thrilled to have Paul, Tom and the PSP team join the business. At DC Thomson Media we are working to protect our core newspaper and magazine business whilst achieving sustainable business growth. The diversification into new sectors that PSP Media brings is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved.”

UK, Dundee & Glasgow

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New Media to acquire Schurz Communications’ newspapers for $30.0M

New Media Investment GroupNew Media Investment Group Inc., one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by number of publications, has agreed to acquire the newspapers and related assets of Schurz Communications, Inc. for $30.0 million.

Schurz is selling ten daily newspapers, which include the highly attractive college towns of South Bend, IN (The South Bend Tribune) and Bloomington, IN (Herald-Times). The group has an average daily circulation of 105,000 and Sunday circulation of 94,000 and its websites average over 4 million unique visitors monthly and have over 300,000 social media followers. Additionally, there are nine weekly and fourteen other community publications that have aggregate weekly circulation of 250,000. These assets span Indiana, South Dakota, Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Michael E. Reed, New Media President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are excited to welcome the Schurz publications and their employees into New Media. After nearly 150 years of ownership, we are honored that the Schurz family has chosen us to steward these papers into the future. They have a long history of strong journalism and community impact and we are excited to build upon their digital efforts with the introduction of our UpCurve products.”

USA, New York, NY & Michawaka, IN

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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Digital First Media acquires the Boston Herald for $11.9M

Digital First MediaDigital First Media, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States, has completed the acquisition of the Boston Herald for $11.9 million at an auction in which they outbid competitors GateHouse Media and Florida private equity firm Revolution Capital Group. The auction followed Herald publisher Patrick Purcell filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2017, citing declining revenue and readership.

Established in 1846 as a single two-sided sheet of news published by a group of Boston printers, the Boston Herald today has a circulation of 64,500, with an online following at BostonHerald.com.

Guy Gilmore, DFM’s chief operating officer, said, “DFM is pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of the Boston Herald through the next chapter of its storied history. The Herald is integral to the fabric of the great city of Boston”.

USA, Denver, CO & Boston, MA

Trinity Mirror plc to acquire Northern & Shell’s publishing assets

Trinity MirrorTrinity Mirror is to acquire Northern & Shell‘s publishing assets for a total purchase price of £126.7 million. These comprise Northern & Shell Network Limited, a subsidiary of Northern & Shell Media Group Limited containing the publishing assets of Northern & Shell and its subsidiaries, International Distribution 2018 Limited and a 50% equity interest in Independent Star Limited.

The purchase consideration of £126.7 million will be satisfied by the payment to the Northern & Shell Media Group Limited of, in aggregate, an initial cash consideration of £47.7 million; deferred cash consideration of £59.0 million payable over 2020 – 2023; and the balance of £20.0 million by the issue to the Seller of 25,826,746 new ordinary shares of 10p each. Trinity Mirror will also make a one-off cash payment of £41.2 million to the Northern & Shell Pension Schemes and a recovery plan through to 2027 has been agreed with total payments of £29.2 million.

Northern & Shell’s publishing assets include a portfolio of newspapers and magazines which comprise four national newspaper titles (the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday) and three celebrity magazines (OK!, New!, and Star) together with a 50% joint venture interest in the Irish Daily Star, outside the UK. Northern & Shell operates a print plant in Luton, serving its portfolio of newspapers and magazines as well as providing third-party printing services.

The Express.co.uk and Dailystar.co.uk websites achieved 280 million page views in December 2017 compared to 649 million for the Trinity Mirror websites (excluding apps and galleries).

Northern & Shell’s publishing assets performed well in 2017 despite continued pressure on its print advertising revenues. Total revenues (after separation adjustments) are estimated to have marginally increased in 2017, with growth in newspaper circulation revenues (arising from the partial reversal of cover price discounting) and digital revenues offsetting declines in print advertising revenues. Adjusted EBITDA (after separation adjustments) is estimated to be circa. £34 million, benefiting from operational and strategic reductions in printing and production, marketing and other operating costs.

Simon Fox, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, said: “This deal is a really exciting moment in Trinity Mirror’s history, combining some of the most iconic titles in the UK media industry. It is good for our readers, good for our customers and good for our shareholders. Northern and Shell’s titles have a large and loyal readership, a growing digital presence and a stable revenue mix and offer an excellent fit with Trinity Mirror.”

UK, London

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Media Development Investment Fund acquires majority stake in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian

MDIF Media Development Investment FundMedia Development Investment Fund, a New York-based not-for-profit investment fund for independent media in emerging markets, has acquired a majority stake in South African media company Mail & Guardian. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The restructured ownership sees M&G’s Chief Executive Officer, Hoosain Karjieker, acquire a minority stake in the business as part of a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transaction.

The Mail & Guardian is an award-winning South African title edited by Khadija Patel who was this week named as one of Africa’s leading talents by the New African magazine.

Trevor Ncube, the newspaper’s former publisher, said “My partner for 14 years, the MDIF, under the leadership of Harlan Mandel have put forward a compelling case plan that will ensure the survival of the M&G well into the future. Ownership of the M&G is equivalent to carrying a baton that gets passed on from generation to generation with just this underlying principle: Editorial independence is sacrosanct. I have often said my role over the past 25 years has been more of a custodian of a great South African asset, than an owner.”

USA, New York, NY & South Africa, Johannesburg