The Board of Johnston Press plc (“Johnston Press”) announces today that it has entered into an agreement with the shareholders of The Scotsman Publications Ltd (“Scotsman Publications”, “the Company”) to acquire the entire issued share capital of the Company.
Scotsman Publications publishes the Scotsman newspaper (a morning paid for title), www.scotsman.com (the award winning website), Scotland on Sunday (a Sunday paid for), the Edinburgh Evening News (an evening paid for) nd the Edinburgh Herald & Post series (a weekly free).
The Company has a total weekly paid for circulation of 840,000 and a weekly free distribution of 254,000. Scotsman.com registered over 3 million monthly unique users and over 20 million page impressions in its most recent ABC audit, and has been voted Britain’s best newspaper website by the Newspaper Society in two consecutive years. Johnston Press believes that Scotsman Publications represents an attractive and complementary addition to its existing print and online portfolio as well as providing opportunities for operational synergies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Johnston Press has agreed to acquire the Company for a cash consideration of £160m on a debt free basis and this consideration will be satisfied from Johnston Press banking facilities.
Johnston Press expects that the acquisition will be earnings enhancing (excluding the impact of acquisition related exceptional items) within the first year.
In the last financial year ended 31 December 2004, Scotsman Publications reported Profit before interest and tax of £7.7m on turnover of £63.5m, with gross assets of £127.5m. Commenting on the deal, Tim Bowdler, Chief Executive of Johnston Press said, “Scotsman Publications comprises one of Scotland’s highest quality newspaper portfolios and The Scotsman and its website Scotsman.com are amongst Scotland’s best known newspaper and internet brands. With its Scottish heritage, Johnston Press is particularly pleased to have reached agreement to acquire Scotsman Publications“.
Andrew Neil, Publisher of the Press Holdings Group, owners of The Scotsman Publications Limited (TSPL), said: “It has been a privilege to own and run a prestigious flagship title like The Scotsman, along with its successful associated titles, these past 10 years. But we are delighted to have reached an agreement with Johnston Press which not only recognises the value and improvements we have added to the titles over the decade but secures their long-term future. The Scotsman and its sister papers will now have the advantage of being part of a larger Edinburgh-based group. We wish the new owners, the newspapers and their dedicated staffs every success in the future.”
Johnston Press plc
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