National World eyeing further acquisitions following JPI buy
Friday, April 23, 2021
One-time Mirror Group chief executive David Montgomery’s takeover vehicle National World has said it will continue to evaluate further acquisitions after buying JPI Media in a deal worth £10.2m in January.
In its results for the year ended 31 December 2020, which do not consolidate the results of JPI Group as the acquisition was completed after the 2020 financial year end, National World said it had incurred a pre-tax loss of nearly £1.1m.
This resulted from ongoing administrative expenses of £244,000 required to operate the company and non-recurring costs related to the JPI acquisition of £839,000.
Since the deal completed on 2 January, the business has commenced the implementation of its strategy for JPI and is also looking at further takeover opportunities, according to executive chairman Montgomery.
“We have already made progress with our ‘Localise, Energise, Digitise, Monetise’ programme, empowering local news teams and reenergising titles.
“In addition, we have launched NationalWorld.com, a website serving the whole of the UK, edited outside London and drawing on the quality of our regional publishing strength.
“We have exciting plans for the future and look forward to continuing the development of the business on a UK wide footprint and securing new acquisition opportunities as they become available.”
National World said that since January it has streamlined JPI’s head office function, reorganising operations into seven regional media divisions and providing commercial teams with new digital marketing skills.
It has also enhanced existing news websites “and developed launch plans in contiguous markets to strengthen market share and grow audience”.
Unique local content has been increased to enhance the quality and appeal of newspapers and websites, and the business has also started trialling a new subscription platform to drive daily engagement with premium content.
In his chairman’s statement, Montgomery added that since the completion of the JPI acquisition, “the pace of change has been swift”, with a focus on preparing the business to deliver on the revenue potential of the country emerging from lockdown in the second quarter of 2021.
“The National World management team has previous experience of many of the franchises and the regions in which the JPI Group operates. This has been of assistance as the acquisition and transformation to date has been conducted remotely in accordance with Covid-19 pandemic restrictions,” he said.
“Whilst trading in the first quarter of 2021 has been adversely impacted by the lockdown arising from Covid-19, management has taken appropriate steps to mitigate the impact to support profits and cash flow.”
National World said it was confident that annualised savings for JPI of £5m will be delivered during 2021 with restructuring costs of £4m.