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

Groupe Lexis Media acquires 12 Transcontinental Media publications

Lexis MediaGroupe Lexis Media has acquired 12 of Transcontinental Inc.‘s publications, as well as their related web properties, with 75 employees of these various publications and 16 employees from TC Media’s Production team being transferred to the buyer. With the completion of this transaction, 60% of the publications included in the sale process of TC Media’s local and regional newspapers in Quebec and Ontario, launched in April 2017, are now in the hands of local owners. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Transcontinental is Canada’s largest printer with operations in print, flexible packaging, publishing and digital media and has more than 7,000 employees in Canada and the United States, and revenues of C$2.0 billion in 2016. Their mission is to create products and services that allow businesses to attract, reach and retain their target customers.

The newspapers acquired by Groupe Lexis Media are: Le Citoyen Rouyn-Noranda, Le Citoyen de la Vallee-de-l’Or, L’Echo Abitibien and La Frontiere, distributed in Abitibi-Temiscamingue; L’Action D’Autray, L’Action – Wednesday Edition, L’Action – Weekend Edition, L’Express Montcalm and Hebdo Rive-Nord, in Lanaudiere; Le Bulletin, La Petite-Nation and La Revue, in Outaouais.

Mr. Frederic Couture, President of Groupe Lexis Media, said: “Since its beginnings, Lexis Media has carved out a prominent position for itself in the media industry by bringing on a passionate editorial team and collaborators, and highly professional sales representatives. We intend to carry on this tradition as we confidently embark on this new phase of our development.”

Canada, Montreal & St-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec

 

Jeffrey P. Bezos to Purchase The Washington Post

twpc_logoThe Washington Post Company has signed a contract to sell its newspaper publishing businesses, including The Washington Post newspaper, to Jeffrey P. Bezos.

The purchaser is an entity that belongs to Mr. Bezos in his individual capacity and is not Amazon.com, Inc. The purchase price is $250 million, subject to normal working capital adjustments, payable at closing later this year.

“Everyone at the Post Company and everyone in our family has always been proud of The Washington Post — of the newspaper we publish and of the people who write and produce it,” said Donald E. Graham, Chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company. “I, along with Katharine Weymouth and our board of directors, decided to sell only after years of familiar newspaper-industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the Post (after a transaction that would be in the best interest of our shareholders). Jeff Bezos’ proven technology and business genius, his long-term approach and his personal decency make him a uniquely good new owner for the Post.”

“I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, DC and our nation, and the Post’s values will not change,” said Mr. Bezos. “Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and I am very optimistic about the future.”

Mr. Bezos has asked Katharine Weymouth, CEO and Publisher of The Washington Post; Stephen P. Hills, President and General Manager; Martin Baron, Executive Editor; and Fred Hiatt, Editor of the Editorial Page to continue in those roles.

“With Mr. Bezos as our owner, this is the beginning of an exciting new era,” said Ms. Weymouth. “I am honored to continue as CEO and Publisher. I have asked the entire senior management team at all of the businesses being sold to continue in their roles as well.”

The transaction covers The Washington Post and other publishing businesses, including the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing.

Slate magazine, TheRoot.com and Foreign Policy are not part of the transaction and will remain with The Washington Post Company, as will the WaPo Labs and SocialCode businesses, the Company’s interest in Classified Ventures and certain real estate assets, including the headquarters building in downtown Washington, DC. The Washington Post Company, which also owns Kaplan, Post–Newsweek Stations and Cable ONE, will be changing its name in connection with the transaction; no new name has yet been announced.

USA, Washington DC

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Independent News & Media PLC – results for year ending 31 December 2012

inmIndependent News & Media PLC has announced the Group’s results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2012. A detailed presentation on these results is available on the Group’s website inmplc.com.

The Group’s interim management statement in respect of the period from 1 January 2013 to 19 April 2013 is also published today.

Financial & Operating Highlights

  • Revenues of €539.7 million, down 3.3%
  • Operating Profit, pre-exceptionals, of €59.7 million, down 20.9% – delivering an operating margin of 11.1%
  • EBITDA, pre-exceptionals, of €80.7 million (including dividends received of €11.1 million) for FY 2012 – down 21%
  • Operating Costs were reduced by €2.5 million despite inflationary cost increases in South Africa in excess of 5.7%, the year-on-year impact of the acquisition of International House Dublin (‘IHD’) and the launch of GrabOne. Excluding IHD and GrabOne, costs reduced by €9.2 million
  • Continued progress in digital, with revenue growth of 21.4% mainly driven by the successful rollout and full year impact of GrabOne in the Island of Ireland
  • Net exceptional charges after tax totalled €273.7 million primarily driven by non-cash asset impairments in APN and Island of Ireland and costs relating to headcount reductions of over 200 in 2012

INM results 2012-1

Strategic Highlights

A restructuring agreement has been reached with its banking syndicate, to effect an amendment to its Master Facility Agreement, which will become effective following the sale of its South African business.

INM says –  this will put it on a secure financial footing with a sustainable debt level, on completion of all stages. On full completion, the new bank deal will give INM the flexibility to reposition itself to embrace opportunities in the digital arena and deliver further significant cost reductions, whilst continuing to invest in the Group’s core print titles.

INM recently announced the sale of its South Africa business for R2 billion (approx. €167m) before expenses – all net proceeds will be used to pay down bank debt.

More details (London Stock Exchange)

Ireland, Dublin

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