SMG Hangs ‘For Sale’ Sign Over Publishing Unit

11 September 2002

Glasgow-headquartered media group SMG is selling its publishing unit, owner of regional titles such as The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times.

The company is trying to build a portfolio of media interests with Scottish national coverage. The publishing division, focused on west-central Scotland, is not regarded as central to this strategy.

SMG is hoping to realise over £200 million ($311m; €319m) from the sale – money it hopes to use once media regulations have been relaxed under the forthcoming Communications Bill.

The group may need the cash – news of the sale coincided with first-half results showing a 42.5% year-on-year slump in pre-tax profits to £11.5m. It blamed the decline on the depressed TV ad market, the higher cost of borrowing, changes in accounting rules and a drop in the number of programming commissions.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) fell from £34.4m last year to £31.3m, while sales sank from £139.7m to £130.7m.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff