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Celtic Media Group

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Irish management team acquires the business and assets of Celtic Media Group for €5.5 million

04 Jul 2016 (10:20)

Deal secures the future of 125 jobs and newspapers including the Anglo-Celt, Meath Chronicle, Westmeath Examiner, Westmeath Independent and Offaly Independent

Thursday 28 June 2012 - 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 27 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.“

 

“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.”

 

Notes to editors:

  • Celtic Media Group’s portfolio includes the Anglo-Celt, Meath Chronicle, Westmeath Examiner, Westmeath Independent, Offaly Independent and Forum, a Co Meath-based publication.
    The group's high-calibre printing plant, located near Navan, Co Meath, has the Irish Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People as its anchor clients. This plant prints all the group's titles, in addition to 12 non-group titles.
    The group also carries out all pre-press activity, including graphic and editorial design, for the Connaught Telegraph and Sligo Weekender from its Mullingar publication base.
  • Frank Mulrennan has been chief executive officer of Celtic Media Group since April 2010. He is a former business editor (1996-2000) and agriculture editor (1987-1995) of the Irish Independent. He began his journalism career in RTE radio. Mr Mulrennan will be the biggest shareholder in the group.
    Prior to joining Celtic Media Group in 2005, he was managing director of Drogheda Independent Group, a subsidiary of Independent News & Media plc.
    He holds an M.Sc (Mgmt. Practice) from IMI/TCD and recently completed a 4-year term as a member of the Press Council of Ireland. He has served as President of the Regional Newspapers & Printers Association and is a currently a member of its executive.
  • Frank Long is a chartered accountant who has been finance director of Celtic Media Group since December 2008.
    Prior to joining Celtic Media Group, he was a director/founder of Ailesbury Investments, a VC-based overseas fund (2005-08), and finance director of Hot Origin, a technology incubator (2002-05).
    Previous roles include Finance/Operations Director with Glencullen Ltd and Woodchester plc. He qualified as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1989.

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