The Board of Johnston Press plc ('Johnston Press') announces today that it has entered into an agreement with the shareholders of Local Press Limited ('Local Press', 'the Company') to acquire the entire issued share capital of the Company.
Local Press Group (Local Press and its subsidiary undertakings) began trading on 15 January 2004 following the acquisition of Trinity Mirror's Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland newspaper division by a 3i Group backed management team. The Local Press Group publishes 12 main titles, eight in Northern Ireland, three in the Republic of Ireland and one title which is published in both. Local Press Group comprises three separate publishing companies, Derry Journal Limited and Century Press and Publishing Limited in Northern Ireland and The Donegal Democrat Limited in the Republic of Ireland. Total weekly circulation for Local Press Group is approximately 343,000 and the portfolio of titles includes the News Letter, the oldest continuously published newspaper in the English-speaking world, and the Derry Journal, winner of Northern Ireland regional newspaper of the year in 2002. For the period to 2 January 2005, Local Press Group (which began trading on 15 January 2004), reported total revenues of £18.5 million and operating profit of £4.9 million before exceptional items, representing a 54% increase over the prior year.
Johnston Press believes that Local Press represents an attractive and complementary addition to its recently acquired portfolio of titles in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. As well as extending Johnston Press' presence in these profitable and well- stablished markets, the acquisition will also provide opportunities for operational and purchasing synergies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Johnston Press has agreed to acquire Local Press for an aggregate cash consideration of £65 million on a cash and debt free basis and this consideration will be satisfied from Johnston Press' banking facilities. Johnston Press expects that the acquisition of Local Press will be earnings enhancing (excluding the impact of acquisition related exceptional items) in the current financial year.
The acquisition is subject to the approval of the Irish Competition Authority and the Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment under the legislation governing competition and the ownership of newspapers.
Johnston Press plc
0131 225 3361
020 7466 5000
Richard Oldworth/Suzanne Brocks