A £17m paper trade: Johnston Press sells 13 East Anglia titles as part of debt reduction strategy

 
Oliver Gill
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The deal is equivalent to 5.3 times the papers' combined annual operating profits

The owner of the i newspaper has flogged 13 of its print titles in a "landmark" deal that will raise £17m.

Johnston Press confirmed it will sell its East Anglia titles to Iliffe Media Limited having previously said it was in a late-stage discussions over the sale in November.

Read more: Struggling newspaper group Johnston Press set for activist investor meeting

“This disposal marks a major milestone in our divestment strategy and puts us firmly on the path of refocusing our activities on areas with the greatest growth potential," said Johnston Press chief exec Ashley Highfield, who added the proceeds would help to pay down the firm's bulging debt pile.

The disposal will also reduce our net debt whilst putting us on a stronger footing.

Johnston Press' paper disposal

Bury Free Press
The Local (Bourne)
Diss Express
Fenland Citizen
Lincolnshire Free Press
Grantham Journal
Haverhill Echo
Lynn News
Newmarket Journal
Rutland Times
Suffolk Free Press
Spalding Guardian
Stamford Mercury

Cambridge-based Iliffe Media has been around for over 120 years and produces over 2m papers and magazines across the UK.

Read more: Newspaper publisher Johnston Press revenues continue to fall

The deal will net Johnston Press £16m after disposal costs and the £17m valuation is a healthy 5.3 multiple of the papers' combined operating profit of £3.2m

"I would like to thank the staff based at these titles for their hard work and loyalty over the years and we wish them well for a successful future," added Highfield.

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