Guardian Media Sells Remaining 50.1% in Trader Media to Apax

Guardian Media Group Plc, publisher of the U.K.’s Guardian and Observer newspapers, agreed to sell its 50.1 percent stake in an auto-classifieds listing business to private equity firm Apax Partners for an undisclosed sum.

The sale comes after Apax bought 49.9 percent of Trader Media Group in 2007, the companies said in a statement today. Trader Media runs the Auto Trader website and magazine.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, comes after closely held GMG returned to full-year profit as a focus on revenue from digital operations helped counter falling newspaper circulation. The company’s profile has been lifted in recent months by coverage of U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden and intelligence leaks.

“Once completed, this deal will make GMG a very well-capitalized media organization with the financial flexibility to navigate the rapidly-changing media environment,” GMG Board chairman Neil Berkett said in the statement.

The deal values Trader Media’s equity and debt at about 1.75 billion pounds ($2.9 billion), according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the transaction’s financial details weren’t disclosed.

Apax was advised by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Allen & Overy LLP. GMG was advised by Bank of America Corp. and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

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