Johnston Press future secured after buyout by newly-formed JPIMedia

Johnston Press, owner of the i, The Scotsman, and The Yorkshire Post, has been bought by newly-formed JPIMedia after putting itself into administration

Chiara Giordano
Saturday 17 November 2018 18:00
Comments
The i newspaper on sale at a shop in London. The future of newspapers previously owned by Johnston Press have been secured after they were acquired by a newly formed company called JPIMedia.
The i newspaper on sale at a shop in London. The future of newspapers previously owned by Johnston Press have been secured after they were acquired by a newly formed company called JPIMedia.

Johnston Press, which owns papers including the i, The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post, has been saved at the eleventh hour.

Newly-formed company JPIMedia announced it had bought Johnston Press on Saturday after the publisher put itself into administration.

The publisher had been looking to refinance £220m of debt due to be repaid in June next year.

As part of the transaction, creditors have agreed to inject £35m of new money into the business and reduce its net debt level by £135m.

In a statement, JPIMedia offered reassurance that the acquisition of Johnston Press “secures jobs and [the] future of its brands and titles”.

“JPIMedia’s shareholders recognise the vital role that local and regional media plays in the communities they serve and remain committed to protecting and enhancing the value of the business in the future,” it added.

The National Union of Journalists earlier demanded “meaningful guarantees” on the future of jobs and titles following the administration process.

The i newspaper is one of 200 newspapers owned by Johnston Press

David King, the publisher’s chief executive, who will keep his position, sent an email to staff, telling them they would continue to be paid and should turn up to work as normal, with their contracts to be transferred to the new company.

As a result of the sale, an assessment period has been triggered for the employees on the defined-benefit pension scheme.

Union officials previously warned any changes to future payments in line with pension protection fund (PPF) payment rules would by a “terrible blow” to affected staff.

JPIMedia said it would offer a defined contribution pension scheme to all employees.

Mr King said the “important” sale would ensure “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,” he said.

John Ensall, director of JPIMedia, said: “In the absence of another financial solution being available for the business, we are pleased to have reached this agreement to acquire Johnston Press, to protect the value of the business, preserve jobs and allow for the uninterrupted publication of its websites and newspapers.

“As part of this transaction we have reduced the level of net debt very significantly and invested £35m to put the business in a far stronger financial position.

“We look forward to working with the management team as they embark on the next chapter in Johnston Press’s story in the media sector, with the resources to support local and national journalism and embrace the digital future.”

One of Britain’s biggest publishers, Johnston Press had more than 200 titles in print and online, including the i, The Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman.

The company announced it was placing itself in administration on Friday after it failed to find an appropriate buyer.

Speculation the publisher might be sold had been growing since it announced a strategic review in March 2017.

The company had been looking to refinance £220m of debt due to be repaid in June next year.

In an email sent to reassure staff, Mr King said that, at its peak, the company’s debt reached £793m.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in