Ex-COO returns to Trinity Mirror to aid N&S integration

Trinity Mirror is understood to be drafting in its former chief operating officer Mark Hollinshead to oversee the integration of Northern & Shell’s newly acquired titles after shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal.

A general meeting was held in London yesterday (27 February), where just less than 99% of shareholders approved the proposed £127.6m acquisition of N&S’s publishing assets, which include the Express, Star and OK! Magazine. Shareholders previously threatened to block the deal if the price was too high.

On the same day, it was reported by The Drum that Hollinshead had been appointed to oversee the integration of the new titles into the company. He stepped down from Trinity to become chief executive of the Great Run Company in 2015 and founded a PR consultancy firm, Hollicom PR, in May last year.

According to The Drum’s report, he will be working closely with Trinity chief executive Simon Fox through his role at Hollicom. Hollinshead has continued to consult at the publisher since his departure and is thought to have played a key role in the acquisition of Northern & Shell from Richard Desmond.

Trinity Mirror declined to comment on speculation regarding Hollinshead's appointment.

It was announced today (28 February) that 25,826,746 new ordinary shares of 10p each in Trinity Mirror had been admitted for trading on the London Stock Exchange. Consideration shares representing around 8.6% of Trinity’s issued share capital have been allotted to Northern & Shell Group Ltd.

“This deal is a really exciting moment in Trinity Mirror's history, combining some of the most iconic titles in the UK media industry,” said Fox as the deal was announced on 9 February.

“It is good for our readers, good for our customers and good for our shareholders. Northern & Shell's titles have a large and loyal readership, a growing digital presence and a stable revenue mix and offer an excellent fit with Trinity Mirror.”

Trinity will pay for the main £126.7m transaction through an initial cash payment of £47.7m, a deferred cash payment of £59m payable between 2020 and 2023, and £20m of new shares. It will also make a one-off cash payment of £41.2m to N&S’s pension schemes and a recovery plan through to 2027 has been agreed with total payments of £29.2m.

Trinity will fund the deal with a new £75m amortising term loan facility, which will be fully drawn, with the balance being drawn down from its existing debt facility and cash balances.

At the announcement of the acquisition, cross-industry workers’ union Unite called for “urgent consultation” over concerns for workers at the merging entities.

Unite’s national officer for the media industry Louisa Bull said she was consulting with executives at Trinity, but understood that cost-saving measures would focus on editorial and administrative staff initially, rather than focusing on its printing operations.


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