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Joe Media bought out of administration for second time

Joe.co.uk previously went into administration in June 2020 but continued to suffer "sustained losses".

By Charlotte Tobitt

UK digital newsbrand Joe Media has been bought out of administration for the second time in under four years.

News and lifestyle site joe.co.uk, which has social media-led model and is aimed at 18 to 35-year-olds, was rescued by Irish entrepreneur Michael O’Rourke in a pre-pack deal worth £3.6m, as first reported by The Sunday Times.

O’Rourke is co-founder of TV and streaming networks Setanta Sports and Premier Sports and through his company TDL is an investor in businesses including clothing and equipment manufacturer Finest Brands Holdings, League of Ireland team Shelbourne FC, ice hockey team Glasgow Clan and ticketing software Future Ticketing. He already had a minority investment in Joe Media’s owner before the UK rescue deal.

Administration filings reveal that Joe Media was “struggling to generate sufficient funds from its operations” to pay staff in November and there were subsequently “growing concerns about its ability” to meet the December payroll.

The business entered administration on 22 December after owners Greencastle MM LLP approached KPMG for insolvency and restructuring advice in response to “financial pressure”.

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Joe’s creditors included HMRC (owed £4m), Tiktok (£27,303.07), software company Frame.io (£26,534.01), Meta (£21,619), news agency SWNS (£17,010) and Chartbeat (£9,510.36).

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Joe Media Ltd was previously bought out of administration by Greencastle MM LLP in June 2020 and a deal was struck for former Unilad executives to run the business for a monthly management fee of £50,000 plus external costs.

However Greencastle undertook debt of £3.8m owed to BPC Ireland Lending DAC as part of the overall consideration of £4m paid for the trade and assets of Joe Media.

The administration filings stated that “despite periods of significant turnover” since June 2020 Greencastle “has historically been heavily loss making and has received financial support from wider group entities in order to sustain trading”.

New filings show “sustained losses” with operating losses of £2.6m in the year to June 2023 and £3.6m the year before.

Turnover dropped by 26% year-on-year to £3.3m in 2022/23.

However a spokesperson for Joe told The Sunday Times the business, now under JMG Media Ltd, is profitable and funding from the new ownership would be used for growth and acquisitions.

Previously Joe Media in the UK traded separately to Joe.ie in Ireland, owned by Maximum Media. However in December O'Rourke also increased his investment in the Irish business to be a significant investor in both.

Staff were told in December that the investment would be "used to support further acquisitions of brands in the social publishing space and to add further verticals as we look to become a ‘one-stop shop’ for platforms, media agencies and brands..."

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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