The Guardian Media Group (GMG) today sold its regional media business to Trinity Mirror in a £44.8 million deal, it was widely reported. Of the price, £7.4 million comes in cash and Trinity Mirror is releasing GMG from a £37.4 million print contract.
The deal is due to be completed by March 28. The Guardian, which was previously known as the Manchester Guardian before moving its main office to London in the 1960s, will still have a Manchester-based reporter.
GMG Regional Media publishes 32 newspapers including the Manchester Evening News (MEN). The group is made up of two operating businesses, MEN Media in the north-west and S&B Media in the south. The group reported an operating profit of £500,000 in the year to March 2009, with turnover of £94.5 million, but did not make a profit in the twelve months to December 2009. The sale will make Trinity Mirror the dominant media group in north-west England.
Chief executive of GMG Regional Media Mark Dodson and managing director of MEN Media Ruth Spratt are to leave the company. GMG Regional Media's chief operating officer has been made managing director of MEN Media. S&B Media will be managed as part of Trinity Media's existing business in the region.
Chief executive of GMG Carolyn McCall said that GMG Regional Media published 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," she said. "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."
Chief executive of Trinity Mirror Sly Bailey said: "This acquisition, which includes the Manchester Evening News with its proud and rich journalistic heritage, together with the weekly titles and associated websites, extends our reach across print and online and is a further step towards our strategic goal of creating a multimedia business of real scale."
Trinity Mirror announced job cuts late last year, citing the ongoing economic downturn.