It has been announced that Regional Publisher Archant, the owners of the East Anglian Daily Times and Eastern Daily Press has agreed a deal with a London based investment company Rcapital Partners which will see them take a 90% stake in the business.
The company announced that agreement had been reached to its staff this morning.
Two of Archants’s holding companies Archant Limited and Archant Community Media Holdings Limited – will be placed into administration as a result of the move.
Archant Community Media Limited, the group’s trading company and employer of its staff, will not be affected. In an announcement to staff, company executive chairman Simon Bax said the business “will continue to operate as normal as a result of the move”.
However, Archant is also to put forward proposals to its creditors for a Company Voluntary Arrangement, which would see its defined benefit pension scheme move into the Pension Protection Fund, a ‘lifeboat’ scheme set up by the government to provide pension benefits to members of schemes whose sponsoring employers have become insolvent
As a result, the PPF will take a 10pc equity stake in the business.
In the announcement, Simon Bax said “the vast majority of the company’s creditors will not be adversely affected by the CVA, while none of its employees will be adversely affected”.
He said: “Sadly, this is not the case for our shareholders. 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.”
Archant launched a plea for investment earlier this summer after suffering significant falls in advertising revenue during the coronavirus crisis and the continuing decline newspaper sales following the growth of online media sources such as Suffolk Village Info
The East Anglian Daily Times office in the centre of Bury St Edmunds closed in December 2018 after a presence of many decades in the town click on the link to read the full story reported by Suffolk Village Info
The newspapers are currently printed in Hertfordshire following the closure of the print works at Thorpe St Andrew in Norwich in September 2019.