Guardian Media Group has divested itself of its 50.1 per cent stake in Trader Media Group, after selling the asset to Funds advised by Apax Partners, in a £619m deal.
Funds were GMG’s joint venture partner in the business after having acquired its existing 49.9 per cent stake back in 2007, buying out the remainder of the business after winning regulatory approval.
Andrew Miller, chief executive officer of GMG, said: “Completion of this transaction comes at an ideal time for GMG as we adapt to a rapidly-changing marketplace. The sale proceeds will transform our balance sheet, enabling GMG to deliver world-class journalism from a position of financial strength. We are extremely grateful to Apax for their contribution to our joint venture partnership and for the pivotal role they have played in the Auto Trader story.
“Even before the gains from the Trader Media disposal, our underlying business is performing strongly in a volatile media environment. We are forecasting an increase of more than 20 per cent in our 2013/14 digital revenues – up from last year’s £56 million, to around £70 million – and net revenues are expected to have risen for the first time since 2008, up by more than 5 per cent to over £200 million in sales.”