January 7, 2021 | Deals

GCA Altium advises JPI Media Holdings on its sale to National World and DMGT

GCA Altium has advised JPI Media, the third largest publisher of regional newspapers and websites in the UK, on the sale of its publishing operations to National World plc (LSE:NWOR), a UK-based media takeover vehicle led by industry veteran David Montgomery, and the sale of its print operations to Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT), a British multinational media company.

JPI is the third largest publisher of regional newspapers and websites in the UK with over 100 newspapers including 13 daily newspapers. Iconic brands and websites include The Scotsman, The Yorkshire Post, Belfast News Letter, Sheffield Star, Edinburgh Evening News, Portsmouth News and Lancashire Evening Post. Its titles span all the regions of the United Kingdom, delivering coverage of news, sport, events and information.

National World, led by newspaper veteran David Montgomery, listed on the standard section of the London Stock Exchange in September 2019, creating a modern platform for news publishing by implementing a new operating model using the latest technology. Its strategy involves consolidation and change by combining digital technology innovation and traditional print assets to grow revenues by aggregating audiences and reducing costs via shared services. JPI’s portfolio of iconic UK brands provides a strong base from which to implement the National World strategy of creating a sustainable online news publishing model with local sites rolled out across the UK. National World has funded the acquisition from its own cash resources and by the issue of £8.4m of loan notes. It will provide £6.5m working capital facilities to JPI Group post-completion.

DMGT manages a portfolio of companies that provide businesses and consumers with information, analysis, insight, events, news and entertainment. The group takes a long-term approach to investment and has market-leading positions in consumer media, insurance risk, property information, education technology and events & exhibitions. DMGT was looking to take a strategic position in news printing in the UK and the acquisition of JPI’s printing operations in Portsmouth, South Yorkshire and Northern Ireland provides the group with both critical mass and strategic locations.

Commenting on the acquisition of JPI’s publishing operations, National World’s Chairman, David Montgomery, said: “JPI’s historic publishing brands represent the best in journalism and have reliably served their communities and supported local businesses, in some cases for centuries, and never more than in the last year. National World will uphold this tradition and implement modern technology to grow the business across a wider footprint based on high quality, unique content.”

This transaction follows JPI’s sale of the i newspaper in 2019 to Daily Mail owner DMGT for c.£50m, where GCA Altium also acted as advisor to the sellers.

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