Guardian accounts reveal £4m price tag for PaidContent

Accounts filed by Guardian News and Media reveal that the company paid £4m for website PaidContent in 2008 – rather than the £15m ($30m) which has previously been reported.

Press Gazette understands that the higher figure, which was widely quoted at the time, was dependent on the highest possible future performance figures for the blog-based media business news site -started by journalist and web entrepreneur Rafat Ali.

GNM said maintains that ContentNext Media is “a good strategic fit to the business” but said that the ‘carrying value’was “impaired following difficult trading conditions”.

The accounts filed with Companies House this week re-state some of the figures already released for Guardian News and Media in the figures of parent company Guardian Media Group.

They cover the year to the end of March 2009 and state an operating loss of £55.3m (compared to the £36.8m operating loss for GNM stated in the GMG accounts). The discrepancy is due to the fact that the limited company accounts follow different accounting rules (UK GAPP) to the Plc accounts, which follow IFRS rules.

The pre-tax loss figure quoted in the new figures (the loss after exceptional items) is £57m – similar to the figure quoted in the Plc account.

Despite GNM’s losses, the accounts state: “The company has adequate resources to continue operations for the foreseeable future and confirmation has been received from Guardian Media Group Plc that it will provide financing facilities to enable the company to carry on its business as a going concern.”

The accounts reveal that GNM’s staff costs for the year were £86,.1m (compared with £85.9 in the year before) and that total staff increased from 1,710 to 1,773.

The accounts reveal that as of March 2009, 927 staff (including journalists) were involved in “production”.

These figures pre-date the cost-cutting which GNM began in 2009. Up to November 2009, GNM had cut around 80 commercial jobs and 70 editorial. In November it announced plans to cut up to a further 100 jobs, at the time Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger warned that up to 10 per cent of editorial jobs would have to go.

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