The cash offer, which values the company at £75.9m, has been made by Claverley, a UK private publishing and retail group that already owns 35 per cent of Guiton.If it succeeds, the takeover will bring to an end 113 years of control by the descendants of JEP founder Walter Guiton.The offer has already been approved by the independent directors of the Guiton Group and it has the backing of the Guiton family.
Their shareholding, combined with the Claverley stake, means that 74 per cent of the group’s shareholders already support the deal.Founded in 1890, the JEP grew into a group which now also includes the Guernsey Press, Itex and CI Newsagents.
Although it was listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market in 1985, Mr Guiton’s descendants, who include group chairman Senator Frank Walker, still retain a significant stake.Claverley are offering £2.80 for each Guiton share or £2.90 if shareholders are willing to be paid £1.45 when the offer is settled and another £1.45 on its first anniversary.
Guiton’s share price was £2.16 before the offer was announced to the Stock Exchange at 7 am this morning.
If the offer is approved, Guiton will de-list from AIM and return to private ownership.’This is a sad day, but I am confident that we have found the best and most pragmatic way forward,’ said Senator Walker, who will remain chairman of Guiton for the foreseeable future.
‘Although my family has been involved with the company since 1890, our involvement has diminished over the years and I am now the only member with an executive role.’None of the next generation has expressed any interest in joining the business, and this, coupled with the wish of some family members to raise capital or reduce their shareholding, has influenced our decision to sell.’We have had interest from other companies, but I know that we have found the safest pair of hands to take Guiton forward.
Claverley is already a long-term partner and headed by a family with a lifetime commitment to the publishing of quality local newspapers and an understanding of the Channel Island market.’From a reader’s point of view, there will be little noticeable difference.
The newspapers will retain their editorial independence and remain integral to island life.
Although control of Guiton is passing to a UK company, I know that the Graham family appreciate the central role our newspapers play in Jersey and Guernsey.
The only change will be increased investment in the group.’