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Archant bought by private equity firm

The UK’s fourth largest regional publisher has been bought out by a private equity firm.

Archant bought by private equity firm
Simon Bax: “Our customers and our readers will see no disruption to the services and information we provide on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.”

As reported by Mariella Brown on the Society of Editors website:

Archant announced this morning that it has reached an agreement with Rcapital Partners which will take a 90% stake in the business.

The publisher of the Eastern Daily Press, New European as well as 50 weekly newspapers has said that the group’s employer of staff will continue to trade “with business as usual”.

Citing the effect of the coronavirus crisis on advertising and circulation revenues, executive chairman Simon Bax announced the news to staff.

While the trading company and employer of staff Archant Community Media Limited will not be affected, two of Archant’s holding companies – Archant Limited and Archant Community Media Holdings Limited – will go into administration.

As a result, shareholders in Archant Ltd will lose out as the company announced there will be no residual value in the shares including shared held by employees in the Share Incentive Plan.

Archant is also putting forward proposals for a Company Voluntary Arrangement which will see the defined benefit pension scheme taken over by the government’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The PPF would take a 10% equity stake in the business.

Announcing the news, Simon Bax said: “With Archant Limited being placed into administration there will be no residual value in the shares. This will also apply to shares held by employees in the Share Incentive Plan.

“This will be shocking and upsetting for all our shareholders but especially for those who are rightly proud of their families’ personal connections with the company and our titles going back many years.”

However, Bax added that he was confident the arrangement would see a bright future ahead.

“I want to make clear from the outset that this new partnership will protect all of our staff and will allow us to continue with business as usual,” he said.

“Our customers and our readers will see no disruption to the services and information we provide on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.”