Investment group National World has won the race to buy publisher JPIMedia – which owns the Stornoway Gazette newspaper.
The publisher said that it has been taken over by the investment firm, headed by the former Local World and Mirror Group boss David Montgomery, in a deal worth £10.2m.
This was announced on www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk and elsewhere.
JPIMedia, which also owns The Scotsman and a large number of local newspapers in Scotland, put itself up for sale in September and reports the following month claimed both National World and Archant had submitted bids ahead of the deadline.
National World will take control of JPIMedia at midnight tomorrow (Saturday 2 January) and the terms and conditions of employment for the company’s current staff are not affected by the sale.
The deal has been funded from National World’s own cash resources and by the issue of £8.425 million of loan notes. It will provide £6.5 million working capital facilities to JPIMedia.
Former Trinity Mirror director Mark Hollinshead will be appointed chief commercial officer and Daniel Cammiade, who was formerly chief operating officer with JPIMedia forerunner Johnston Press and more recently worked as chief executive at Tindle Newspapers, will be appointed as a non-executive director.
Johnson Press decline from 2007 onwards is demonstrated by its share price . In April 2007 JP’s shares were trading at a high of £4.82 per share. By February 2015, they were £1.72 per share. In July 2018, they were 3p per share. When Johnson Press bought the Scotsman group in 2005, they paid a total of £160m.
Addressing staff, JPIMedia chief executive David King said: “I would like to thank all of you for the exceptional commitment and passion you show every day and I believe that our titles, staff, audiences and other stakeholders can now benefit from being part of this new organisation.
“While 2020 has been a very difficult year, over the coming months we must continue to build on the momentum that you have created. The publishing industry is undergoing a fundamental shift and being part of National World will help sustain our business and local media for the longer term. I am looking forward to managing the transition to the new owners.”
The deal enables JPIMedia to fulfil its preferred aim of selling its regional portfolio as a single business, despite speculation earlier this month of a Dundee-based DC Thomson bid for its Scottish titles.