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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Newsquest to acquire regional media company CN Group

NewsquestNewsquest Media Group Ltd. is to acquire Cumbrian-based media company CN Group in a deal which is part of a larger, scaled operation by the board to better protect the long term future of the group, its staff and its pensioners. The business sold two of its local radio stations to Global Radio in the autumn. The terms of this transaction were not disclosed, but it is expected to complete shortly after shareholders meet on 9th March.

CN Group runs print, digital and event brands covering Cumbria, Northumberland, north Lancashire, and the Scottish Borders including several award-winning papers such as the News & Star, Cumberland News, Times & Star, The Whitehaven News, The Mail and Hexham Courant.

It also has a magazine division that includes Cumbria Life, Taste Cumbria, Bay Living, in-Cumbria, Dumfries and Galloway Life, runs the Choose Cumbria marketing campaign, and events arm CN Events and a print division. It employs 324 people.

Henry Faure Walker, Newsquest chief executive, said: “We look forward to the opportunity of working with the CN Group, its staff and the community it represents in building on their great local brands and publishing expertise, and helping them forge a strong future. We will endeavour to support them with the scale and resources that Newsquest can provide, whilst enabling them to carry on what they have done so well for many years – namely providing first class content and advertising solutions for the people and businesses of Cumbria and the wider region.”

UK, Weybridge & Carlisle

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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

 

FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE acquires regional newspapers and parts of the magazine portfolio from Axel Springer / Establishment of joint ventures for advertising ma

funkeFUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE is to acquire Axel Springer AG’s regional newspapers as well as its TV program guides and women’s magazines. In the fiscal year 2012 Axel Springer’s regional newspapers, TV program guides and women’s magazines businesses made €94.8 million in EBITDA and €512.4 million in revenues. The purchase price is  €920 million.

The two companies have also agreed to establish joint ventures for the marketing and distribution of print and digital media. In both joint venture companies, Axel Springer will have the majority interest.

Thomas Ziegler, Managing Director of FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE: “We have to join forces – because the media market presents challenging tasks: Therefore, we are looking forward to work closely with Axel Springer AG in marketing and distribution within the framework of the joint ventures and we appreciate that selected print titles of Axel Springer will join our activities. New opportunities are emerging for our business: This applies to the print as well as to the online segment. Hereby, we gain an enormous potential for new developments, for example for the intelligent connection of both fields. Together with the colleagues which will join us, we will build a national media company. FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE will stand for print media and online media, successful regional newspapers and successful magazines, journalistic quality and economic success.”

Mathias Döpfner, Chief Executive Officer Axel Springer AG: “The decision to divest some of our brands with the longest tradition in our company was not easy. However, we are sure that the grouping under the FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE, which aims at focusing on regional print- and online-journalism and on magazines, provides the best long-term perspective for the brands and for the staff. The different strategies of both companies complement each other perfectly. Axel Springer AG will continue to follow the strategic direction to become the leading digital media group with a clear focus on the BILD- and WELT-groups, in which we will invest and further develop journalistically and which will remain the core business of Axel Springer in the very long term.”

The transaction is subject to approval under merger control and antitrust law, which is not expected to be obtained before the end of 2013.

Germany, Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin

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