YEP publisher completes £360m bank deal to cut debts and slash interest rates

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JOHNSTON Press, owner of the Yorkshire Evening Post, has successfully completed its £360m capital refinancing plan, having raised £140m from a rights issue and a further £220m from a new fixed rate bond.

The media company, which owns 250 newspapers and almost 200 local news and e-commerce websites, announced its intention to refinance in May as part of plans to fund future business growth.

Shareholders took up 92.25 per cent of some 4.6 billion new shares that were issued and the company’s underwriters, Panmure Gordon and JP Morgan Cazenove, secured investors for the remaining 7.75 per cent. The new shares are now trading on the stock exchange.

In addition, broadcasting giant Sky entered into a ground-breaking strategic regional partnership with Johnston Press, agreeing to a £5m investment. Under the terms of the agreement Sky has made available its new product, Sky AdSmart Local, to part of Johnston Press’ extensive sales network with a view to rolling it out further at a later date.

The new finance package has allowed the company to pay off its £300m bank debt and operate with a new, reduced debt of £225m. This comes with a reduced interest rate so Johnston Press is paying half the interest it was, creating a platform for future growth and securing the future of your YEP.

HELPING HAND: Ben Wilson, MD at MPM, with Victoria Hopkins, MD at Hopkins Catering. PIC: Tony Johnson

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