Ascential sells 11 “heritage” brands to Meropolis International for £23.5m

Press Release: Ascential plc (the “Group” / LSE: ASCL.L), the global business-to-business information company, today announces that it has agreed the sale of the remaining 11 UK-based Heritage Brands to Metropolis International Limited for a consideration of £23.5m, payable in cash and subject to normal working capital adjustments. The sale has completed and the proceeds will be used to reduce Ascential’s net debt. On 5 January 2017 the Group announced that it had separated 13 Heritage Brands into a new operating entity and that these brands would develop an independent business strategy while new owners were sought.

On 19 January 2017, Health Service Journal was sold to Wilmington plc for £19m in cash and, following today’s sale of the remaining 11 UK-based Heritage Brands, the sale process continues for the one remaining Heritage Brand, Meed. In 2016, the 11 UK-based Heritage Brands generated revenue of £32.1m (2015: £34.6m) and adjusted EBITDA of £6.9m (2015: £8.0m). Gross assets at 31 December 2016 were £18m including intangibles.

Duncan Painter, CEO, Ascential, commented: “Ascential’s strategy is to focus on its top performing brands to drive sustainable organic growth. This sale concludes the process to secure the future of the UK Heritage Brands.” The 11 brands include Drapers, Nursing Times, Local Government Chronicle, Construction News, New Civil Engineer, Ground Engineering, H&V News / RAC, Retail Jeweller, Materials Recycling World and the architecture titles including Architects’ Journal, The Architectural Review and its associated World Architecture Festival.

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