The Irish management team of Celtic Media Group, printer and publisher of regional newspapers including the Anglo-Celt, Meath Chronicle, Westmeath Examiner and Westmeath Independent, has acquired the business and assets of the group for 5.5 million.
The transaction will secure the future of the group's newspapers and its printing and publishing businesses, which employ 125 people.
The management team, headed by chief executive Frank Mulrennan and finance director Frank Long, will take full ownership of the business, which was previously owned by Scottish-based investors, including Dunfermline Press. Other shareholders will include non-executive chairman John Wood and other managers, including the editors of the group's newspapers and sales managers.
The acquisition followed a receivership process initiated by the Scottish-based board of directors of Celtic Media Group. All trade creditors and suppliers will be paid in full under the terms of the receivership, while the terms and conditions of employees will be unaffected by the change in ownership.
Michael O'Regan of PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed receiver of Celtic Media Group at the request of the outgoing board yesterday (Wednesday 27th June). The Irish management team has acquired the business and assets of the group from the receiver with the backing of a 5.5 million loan from Lloyds Banking Group.
IBI Corporate Finance advised the management team on the acquisition.
Speaking after briefing staff colleagues today, Mr Mulrennan said: "We are delighted that Celtic Media Group's newspapers and its printing and publishing businesses are now under the full ownership of Irish management.
"Our group has consistently generated operating profits in the teeth of the recession but it suffered from a legacy debt burden that was unsustainable. This burden has been addressed fully and the group now has a financial structure that is appropriate to face the ongoing challenges presented by the current business environment."
He added: "We are dedicated to positioning our company to benefit from our exciting multi-platform digital strategy and from further consolidation in the regional media market, which we feel is inevitable."