Future of newspapers previously owned by Johnston Press secured following acquisition
The future of newspapers previously owned by Johnston Press have been secured after they were acquired by a newly formed company called JPIMedia, a spokesman said.
JPIMedia bought out the company following the court appointment of administrators earlier on Saturday.
As part of the transaction, bondholders agreed to reduce the level of senior secured debt by £135m (€151.78m) (more than 60%), from £220m (€247.35m) to £85m (€95.57m), with extended debt maturity to December 2023.
Additionally, the bondholders have provided £35m of new money to provide further additional funding for the business.
David King, chief executive of JPIMedia, said: "The sale of the business to JPIMedia is 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.
"We will focus on ensuring the group's titles continue to publish the high-quality journalism we are known for and which has never been more important. I look forward to working with JPIMedia to assess and implement the opportunities available to us in the future, underpinned by a stronger balance sheet."
John Ensall, director of JPIMedia said: "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.
"As part of this transaction we have reduced the level of net debt very significantly and invested £35m to put the business in a far stronger financial position. We look forward to working with the management team as they embark on the next chapter in Johnston Press's story in the media sector, with the resources to support local and national journalism and embrace the digital future."
A Johnston Press Plc statement said: On 16 November 2018, the company announced that the boards of directors of the company and each of its principal subsidiaries incorporated in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland had resolved to apply to the Courts in Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland respectively for administration orders in respect of those companies.
"Administrators have now been appointed over each of those companies and, in accordance with the Company's previous announcement, the businesses and substantially all of the assets of the Company's group (the "Group") have been sold by those companies, acting by the Administrators, to a newly-incorporated group of companies controlled by the holders of the Group's bonds.
"The transaction will preserve the jobs of the Group's employees and ensure that the Group's businesses will be carried on as normal."