Johnston Press's 130 regional titles valued at £28.4m

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin
Yorkshire Post

Johnston Press’s 130 regional titles, including the Yorkshire Post and Sheffield Star, have been given an aggregate value of £28.4m in their creditors’ report.

The report, by the administrators AlixPartners, includes a breakdown of individual valuations of titles and groups of titles conducted by the accountancy firm Mazars as part of the sales process.

The Scotsman titles, incorporating the Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News newspapers and the Scotsman.com website, are given an intellectual property value of £4.3m.

The company paid £160m to buy the Scottish newspaper group from the Telegraph’s owners, the Barclay brothers, in 2005.

Johnston Press’s deal to buy the Scotsman group of titles was one of the main acquisitions that lumbered it with a debt load that eventually sent it into administration.

The Yorkshire Post group is valued at £5.5m. The report reveals that the i, Johnston Press’s star title acquired for £24m in 2016, was valued at £70m. However, the paper, which makes profits of about £10m, attracted two bids with a top offer of just £35m.

The report reveals that one offer was made for the whole of Johnston Press, valuing it at between £140m and £150m, with no responsibility for the pension plan deficit.

This is below the value of the deal struck by the consortium of bondholders, CarVal, Fidelity, Benefit Street Partners and GoldenTree.

The report values the offer made by the consortium, which is operating as JPIMedia Group, at £181m. The deal included cutting Johnston Press’s debts to £85m, injecting £35m in cash, paying all trade creditors and continuing to employ and pay its 2,000 staff.

“I think the administrators’ detailed statement shows how hard the board tried over an 18-month strategic review,” said Camilla Rhodes, chair of Johnston Press.

“I’m sure what we have done provides the best possible outcome in order to preserve jobs and newspaper titles. It’s worth reminding ourselves that every local newspaper group, almost every media company, has suffered the most immense disruption from the internet in the past two decades.”

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