EDINBURGH, Scotland, UK- A number of iconic newspapers in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have beensaved by a series of transactions over the past 48 hours.
Johnston Press, the owners of titles such as The Scotsman, the i, the Yorkshire Post, and the worlds oldest English-language newspaper The News Letter, had administrators appointed to the company on Saturday. This was a move made by the directors of Johnston Press, it would seem to facilitate a sale of the newspapers to a new joint venture, JPIMedia.
The News Letter, published throughout Northern Ireland is the oldest English language newspaper in the world, having first published in 1737.
The new owners of the group have vowed it will be business as usual with the newspapers continuing to be published, and the employees all keeping their jobs.
The newspapers, 200 in all, as a group had been for sale for the past month or so but failed to attract a buyer.
The Johnston Press newspapers are profitable and generating free-cash flow however the parent company was hampered by debts and borrowings totalling 220 million ($288 million) which were due to be repaid in mid-2019.
David King, the CEO of Johnstone Press is to keep his job as well, he becomes CEO of JPIMedia. On Saturday he praised the decision to do the deal as "an important one for the Johnston Press businesses as it ensures that operations can continue as normal, with employees' rights maintained, suppliers paid, and newspapers printed."
John Ensall, director of JPIMedia, was quoted as saying: "In the absence of another financial solution being available for the business, we are pleased to have reached this agreement to acquire Johnston Press, to protect the value of the business, preserve jobs and allow for the uninterrupted publication of its websites and newspapers."
The new ownership entity will have a vastly different debt structure and will actually inject a further 35 million ($45.8 million) into the newspapers.