By: E&P Staff
The Guardian reported Tuesday that London-based Guardian Media Group is selling its regional media business to Trinity Mirror for 7.4 million pounds (US$11.5 million) in cash and GMG’s release from a 37.4-million-pound (US$58.3 million) print contract.
Expected to be completed by March 28, the deal ends the Guardian’s connection to Manchester, where the now-national newspaper was first published and where GMG Regional Media continued to publish the Manchester Evening News among its 32 newspapers — 22 in northwest England and 10 in the south.
Not part of the deal are a television station serving greater Manchester and local newspapers in Woking.
GMG Regional Media’s chief executive and MEN Media’s managing director are leaving the company. GMG Regional Media Chief Operating Officer David Sharrock was named MEN Media managing director.
It remains uncertain if Manchester Evening News staffers will move in the next six months to Trinity Mirror’s Oldham site, 10 miles from their current downtown location. S&B Media, which publishes the 10 southern papers, will become part of Trinity Mirror’s business in that region.
GMG Chief Executive Carolyn McCall explained that “GMG is mandated to secure the future of the Guardian in perpetuity, and we have a strong portfolio, which has to be in the right shape to achieve that goal. The group board and [GMG sole owner] Scott Trust have made the decision to sell in light of these strategic objectives.” She added that Trinity Mirror “is best placed to develop this business in a market that is likely to consolidate further.”
Dating from 1936, Scott Trust was created to permanently secure the Guardian’s financial and editorial independence.
The Guardian quoted Trinity Mirror Chief Executive Sly Bailey calling GMG Regional Media “a perfect strategic fit… and is a further step towards our strategic goal of creating a multimedia business of real scale.”
The former Manchester Guardian became The Guardian upon moving to London in the early 1960s. It is retaining its reporter in its Manchester.