Belfast Telegraph

Value of Johnston Press Northern Ireland newspapers revealed in report

By Jonathan Bell

The News Letter has been valued at £2.3million, a report into the administration process of owner Johnston Press reveals.

The company went into administration and was taken over by JPI Media in a pre-pack sale arrangement earlier this month. It has been put up for sale in October with bonds of £220m to be paid next summer.

In a report for the creditors it was revealed a mystery bidder’s £150m offer for the group before its collapse was rejected as well as other offers.

Two separate offers were received for the i newspaper, one for £25m and the other £35m.

Directors felt none of the offers addressed the bonds issue repayment and administrators found the outcome of the process was the best deal for creditors, although warned of a “significant” cash shortfall for them.

As news of the company entered administration emerged, the News Letter - the world's oldest continuously published English language paper -  was said to be "in good health and very profitable".

As well as the News Letter, JP owned a number of titles across NI including weeklies such as the Lurgan Mail and Newtownabbey Times.

It was revealed its Morton Group of Northern Ireland newspapers which includes 10 titles was valued at £243,000 with the Derry Journal valued at £177,000.

Meanwhile the Yorkshire Post Newspapers group of three titles was valued at £5.5m and the Scotsman at £4.3m.

In a statement Alix Partners said: “We are confident that, in the circumstances, the sale achieved the best available outcome for creditors. We are also satisfied that the marketing process for the sale of the business and assets was appropriate and well publicised.

"The sale consideration, which resulted from the best offer received, was consistent with independent valuations carried out by Mazars and far in excess of other offers received.

“Proceeding with a swift ‘pre-pack’ had the additional advantages of mitigating disruption to the business and importantly preserving jobs across the organisation.”

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