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Guardian Media Group agrees sale of regional media business to Trinity Mirror

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Guardian Media Group plc (“GMG”) has agreed to sell its regional media business (“GMG Regional Media”) to Trinity Mirror plc for a total consideration of £44.8 million.

GMG Regional Media, which publishes 32 newspapers and associated websites, is formed of two operating businesses: MEN Media and S&B Media. MEN Media publishes 22 titles in the North West of England, including the flagship Manchester Evening News. S&B Media publishes 10 titles in the South of England, including the Surrey Advertiser and Reading Post.

Channel M, the TV station for Greater Manchester, and the company’s local newspapers in Woking are excluded from the sale.

Mark Dodson, chief executive of GMG Regional Media, has decided to leave the business. David Sharrock, currently chief operating officer of GMG Regional Media, has been appointed as managing director of MEN Media. S&B Media will be managed as part of Trinity Mirror’s existing publishing business in the South of England. Ruth Spratt, managing director of MEN Media, has also decided to leave the company.

Carolyn McCall, chief executive of Guardian Media Group, said: “The Manchester Evening News and its sister titles have made a huge contribution to the fortunes of the Group for the best part of a century. GMG would like to pay tribute to all the staff for their hard work and achievement in a sector dealing with structural change as well as economic downturn.

“GMG is mandated to secure the future of the Guardian in perpetuity, and we have a strong portfolio which has to be in the right shape to achieve that goal. The Group board and the Scott Trust have made the decision to sell in light of these strategic objectives.

“GMG Regional Media is a good business and a publisher of important newspapers. However, we believe Trinity Mirror, as one of the UK’s biggest regional publishers, is best placed to develop this business in a market that is likely to consolidate further. We are therefore confident that this decision is in the best long-term interests of the regional business and its staff, as well as delivering real value for the Group.

“Mark Dodson has been a major part of GMG Regional Media’s success over many years. He and his leadership team have shown creativity, courage and determination in a very tough media market. We thank them for that.”


Further information

Guardian Media Group
Chris Wade 020 3353 4041; Colin Browne 07733 103 800

Trinity Mirror
Nick Fullagar 020 7293 3622

Notes for editors
GMG Regional Media is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian Media Group. It has two component businesses: MEN Media and Surrey & Berkshire Media (“S&B Media”). It publishes 32 local and regional newspapers and associated websites in the North West and South of England. Principal titles include the Manchester Evening News, the Surrey Advertiser and the Reading Post. Guardian Media Group is wholly owned by the Scott Trust, which was created in 1936 and exists to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity.

The total consideration of £44.8 million comprises the release by Trinity Mirror of a long-term GMG print liability, valued at £37.4 million, and £7.4 million in cash.

GMG was advised on the transaction by Global Leisure Partners.