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National World sells tech provider it bought in September

National World bought Press Computer Systems alongside Midlands News Association.

By Bron Maher

Update 2 April: National World has sold software as a service company Press Computer Systems, which is widely used in the UK local press industry, to global software provider Naviga.

The publisher has entered into a five-year agreement with Naviga to carry out its software services. National World announced the consideration for the disposal was £3.5m, which effectively means it is in credit with Naviga and is therefore not expected to have to start paying for the services for about four years.

National World chairman David Montgomery said: “Newspaper production technology is not our core expertise and so we believe PCS is being transferred into good hands with Naviga, which is best placed to develop that business while continuing to serve National World’s modernisation and automation needs for the long term.”

Original story 12 March: National World is at “an advanced stage of discussions” to sell publishing technology provider Press Computer Systems (PCS), which it acquired six months ago.

The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post publisher acquired software as a service (SaaS) provider PCS along with sister company Midland News Association (MNA) in September last year, paying £11m cash for the pair.

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However on Tuesday National World told staff in a memo, seen by Press Gazette, that it is in talks to sell PCS to content and commerce management provider Naviga UK1 Limited.

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The note to staff said: “After an extensive review of the business since its acquisition in September, National World believes that as a market leading global software provider, Naviga is best placed to provide greater opportunity for PCS’s people, products and services to ensure they remain both significant and influential within the publishing sector.

“At the same time National World will be extending its existing long term commitment with Naviga and looks forward to the continued growth of this strategic partnership.”

National World PCS sale process ‘to end this month’

The sale process is expected to finish by the end of March. National World said staff impacted are currently being consulted.

National World did not disclose the proposed size of the deal. Naviga sells publisher tools including a content management system for print and digital and subscription management solutions.

PCS supplied publishing platforms for MNA and other major publishers including Newsquest and DC Thomson. MNA’s former owner Claverley Group exited the market with the sale so it was said the addition of PCS to the deal was a “logical extension”.

National World made a series of acquisitions in 2023, including the Rotherham Advertiser and Insider Mediadigital publisher News Chain and the Newry Reporter newspaper in Northern Ireland, paying £14m for the purchases entirely in cash.

The company also announced an interest in bidding for The Telegraph, but it is unclear whether the business is still pursuing the newspaper in the event the Abu Dhabi-backed Redbird IMI deal is vetoed by the Government.

National World reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in 2023 of more than £9m.

The 2023 buying spree provoked the ire of the National Union of Journalists. Upon the announcement of the MNA acquisition, NUJ national organiser Laura Davison said: “Paying millions for new titles as existing journalists at the company share the impact of financial difficulties shows a blatant disregard for the value of its staff.”

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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.
Thank you

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