Guardian Media Group Logo

Guardian Media Group

Search the Guardian Media Group Website

Guardian Media Group announces sale of stake in Trader Media Group

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Board of Guardian Media Group plc (“GMG”) today announces that it has conditionally agreed to sell a minority stake in Trader Media Group to funds advised by Apax Partners. GMG will retain a majority stake in the business of 50.1 per cent. The transaction values Trader Media Group at £1.35 billion.

GMG announced in 2006 that it had decided to rebalance the Group’s portfolio through the sale of a minority stake in TMG. Since then, the Group has received numerous unsolicited approaches from parties wishing to acquire a stake in the business.

Having thoroughly reviewed these proposals and the possibility of an IPO, the Board of GMG has decided that the sale of a minority stake to Apax Partners creates the greatest value for the Group and is in the best interests of TMG’s long-term growth plans.

Paul Myners, Chairman of GMG, said: “The sale of a minority stake in Trader Media Group allows us to rebalance our portfolio of assets, while also continuing to benefit from the huge success of TMG. The structure we have negotiated provides TMG with a sound basis for future development.”

Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of GMG, said: “This is good news for GMG and Trader Media Group. We have been able to take advantage of the strong appetite for quality media assets and retain a majority stake in this superb company, from which we expect continued growth.

“Apax shares our commitment to the long-term development of Trader Media Group, and is an excellent partner for us in the business. We look forward to working closely with Apax as we build on the success of TMG together.”

Tom Hall, Partner at Apax Partners, added: “We have followed the evolution of Trader Media Group with admiration for some time and are delighted to invest in such a high-quality business. We look forward to working closely with GMG and management to help take the business to the next stage of its development.”

Merrill Lynch International acted as lead financial adviser to Guardian Media Group on the transaction.

– E N D S –

For further information please contact:

Colin Browne, Maitland 020 7379 5151
Merrill Lynch 020 7996 1000
Bob Wigley
Philip Noblet
Mervyn Metcalf

Notes for editors:

Guardian Media Group plc (‘GMG’) is one of the UK’s leading media companies. Its diverse portfolio includes national media – The Guardian and Observer newspapers and the Guardian Unlimited network of websites; regional media – the Manchester Evening News, a number of other regional newspapers in the North West and South of England, the Channel M city TV station and the Manchester Online website; 13 radio stations under the Real Radio, Smooth Radio, Century FM and Rock brands; and Trader Media Group, one of Europe’s largest specialist print and online media companies, and publisher of the Auto Trader magazine and website.

GMG is wholly owned by the Scott Trust, which was created in 1936 to secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity.

Lazard & Co. Limited also advised Guardian Media Group on the transaction.

Apax Partners is one of the world’s leading private equity investment groups. It operates across the United States, Europe and Asia and has more than 30 years of investing experience. Funds under the advice of Apax Partners total $20 billion around the world. These Funds provide long-term equity financing to build and strengthen world-class companies. Apax Partners Funds invest in companies across its global sectors of Tech & Telecom, Retail & Consumer, Media, Healthcare and Financial & Business Services.

Funds advised by Apax Partners have invested in the media sector for more than 20 years. Significant recent investments include: Incisive Media, Central European Media Enterprises, HIT Entertainment, World Directories and Yell.