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Northcliffe to sell Aberdeen newspapers for £105m

Northcliffe Newspapers is to sell off its Aberdeen newspapers to DC Thomson.

The announcement follows the decision of DMGT not to sell its regional newspapers group. DMGT announced last month that it had decided to retain Northcliffe when the board considered that three offers received did not reflect the long term value of the business to shareholders.

The announcement today said the company had reached an unconditional agreement to sell Aberdeen Journals Ltd, publisher of the Aberdeen Press & Journal and Aberdeen Evening Express, to DC Thomson & Co Ltd.

The transaction puts a value of £132m on the business but as a result of the transaction, Aberdeen Journals will have an obligation to pay some £27m into DMGT’s pension schemes when its employees are subsequently transferred into a new scheme.

DMGT expects to receive approximately £105m.

In the last financial year ended 2 October 2005 Aberdeen Journals reported operating profit before interest and tax of £8.1m on turnover of £38.2m, with gross assets of £33.3m.

Following the sale, the board intends to return £50m to shareholders through a share buyback.

The Press and Journal morning newspaper’s circulation is 84,908, with the Evening Express selling 57,890.

The combined operation employs some 400 staff both at the Aberdeen headquarters and several district offices throughout north east Scotland.

DC Thomson is publisher of the Dundee Courier, the Sunday Post and the Dundee Evening Telegraph. The Courier sells 77,511, and the popular Sunday Post – which also sells throughout the whole of the UK – has a healthy 468,414 circulation. The Evening Telegraph sells 25,050. DC Thomson also publish The Weekly News (89,106).

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