Thursday , March 30 2023

Taking over Johnston Press "provides jobs and the future of its titles"


Jobs and newspapers at Johnston Press were saved after the company was bought by creditors.

The newly-formed company JPIMedia announced that it had purchased the publisher on Saturday after it was put into administration.

Under the deal, creditors agreed to inject £ 35m new in business and reduce net debt by £ 135m.

In a statement, JPIMedia said the acquisition of Johnston Press "provides jobs and the future of its brands and titles."

"JPMedia shareholders recognize the vital role that local and regional media play in the communities they serve, and they remain committed to protecting and improving the value of their business in the future," he added.

The National Union of Journalists earlier called for "significant guarantees" on the future of jobs and titles following the administration process.

As a result of the sale, an evaluation period has been triggered for employees in the defined retirement scheme.

Union officials have previously warned that any change in future payments under the Pension Fund (PPF) payment rules would be a "terrible blow" for the affected staff.

JPIMedia said it would provide all employees with a defined contribution scheme.

But a statement from Custos Group, the largest shareholder of Johnston Press, accused the publisher's board of having acted on its own merits.

She said, "Their actions today, assuring their own job, are safe, but sacrificing the pensions of their loyal staff, many of whom will undoubtedly lose their jobs under the new property of a US hedge fund, is simply a shame and vulgar display of the worst elements of capitalism. "

David King, former editor-in-chief, maintains his position at JPIMedia.

He said that the "important" sale would ensure "operations can continue normally, with the maintenance of employees' rights, paid suppliers and printed newspapers."

"We will focus on ensuring that the titles of the group continue to publish the high quality journalism we are known about and which has never been more important," he said.

John Ensall, JPIMedia's Director, said: "In the absence of another financial solution that is available for the business, we are delighted to reach this agreement to acquire Johnston Press to protect the value of the business, keep jobs and to allow uninterrupted publishing of its websites and newspapers.

"As part of this transaction, we have greatly reduced our net debt and invested £ 35 million to put the business in a much stronger financial position.

"We look forward to working with the management team as they engage in the next chapter of Johnston Press in the media sector with the resources to support local and national journalism and to embrace the digital future."

One of Britain's largest publishers, Johnston Press had more than 200 titles in the press and online, including The Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman.

The company announced it was placed in administration on Friday after failing to find a suitable buyer.

The speculation the publisher could sell has increased because it announced a strategic review in March 2017.

The company sought to refinance 220 million pounds due to reimbursement in June next year.

In an email sent to reassure the staff, Mr. King said that at the top, the company's debt reached 793 million pounds.

Employees were informed early that they would continue to be paid and should return to work normally and their contracts be transferred to the new company.

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: "It is important for people in Scotland to have access to a wide range of local and national sources of information.

"I'm glad to hear that Johnston Press has been bought from the administration in a business that promises to secure jobs and put the business in a stronger financial position."

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