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February 9, 2016

Guardian Media Group makes £29.3m following flotation of business publisher Ascential

By William Turvill

The owner of The Guardian has made £29.3m following the stock market flotation of business publisher and events company Ascential.

Formerly known as Top Right Group and Emap, the company today announced the pricing of its initial public offering at 200p per share, giving it a total estimated market value of around £800m.

Ascential said in an announcement that the flotation of 35 per cent of shares – totalling just under 140m – has raised around £183.2m for the company, after deduction of underwriting costs and other fees and expenses.

Additionally, it said the selling shareholders – Apax, GMG and “an entity selling shares on behalf of certain members of the company’s management team” – will receive total gross proceeds of £80m.

According to The Guardian, before the flotation, GMG owned 32.9 per cent of shares. Following today's announcement, this figure will be 23.3 per cent compared with Apax's 38.9 per cent.

According to Ascential, The Guardian has sold 14.65m shares, meaning it has earned around £29.3m.

When Ascential confirmed plans to list on the stock market last month, the firm said it planned to raise around £200m, which it would use to pay down some of its £400m debt.

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The company was bought by GMG and Apax for around £1bn in 2008.

Ascential chief executive Duncan Painter said: "I am very pleased with the response we have received from investors towards our company, our products and our IPO. 

“This recognition stands as testament to the hard work of our people, each of whom can take pride in the industry leading company they have helped to build. 

“As we move forward as a listed company, our focus will not change. 

“We will continue to put our customers first, supporting them with market leading products specifically designed to help them secure their own growth and success."

Last month, The Guardian announced plans to cut annual costs by £53.6m after revealing it expected to lose more than £50m in the year to the end of March – more than double last year's loss total.

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