Guardian revives flotation plan

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The Independent Online
Guardian Media Group, owners of the Guardian and Observer newspapers, is believed to have revived plans to seek a stock market listing for some of its key assets, in part to raise equity funds to offset growing losses at its ailing Sunday title.

The plan would see the company's Auto Trader title, its independent television production companies and other non-core assets pooled into a single company, possibly Broadcasting Communications, one of its subsidiaries.

The Guardian Media Group, controlled by the Scott Trust, would sell shares in the enlarged subsidiary, although it is believed GMG would continue to hold a majority stake. The equity funds raised would be used in part to help finance the develop of the two national titles.

The plan is similar to one contemplated in 1989, which was rejected by the Scott Trust. It is believed that the current plan could have the backing of several GMG directors. Directors contacted yesterday did not return phone calls. Harry Roche, the executive chairman of the group, could not be reached.

It is believed the plan may have been developed with the help of Hambros Bank. The bank had no comment.

The Observer has been a significant drain on the group, and several efforts have been made to turn it around. Most recently, the title was relaunched with a new editor, Will Hutton.

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