FL Partners Buys Racing Post for GBP170m Alan Byrne Appointed as Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief
DUBLIN and LONDON, October 1 /PRNewswire/ -- FL Partners, the Dublin-based private equity investment firm, is pleased to announce that it has purchased the Racing Post from Trinity Mirror plc for GBP170 million (circa EUR250 million).
The purchase includes the Racing Post newspaper, together with its high growth, market-leading website, http://www.racingpost.co.uk, a number of weekly and annual racing publications, plus related publications for the betting industry.
The new owners plan to invest significant resources developing the business, focusing in particular on additional online and multimedia services as well as expanding into new markets.
Alan Byrne, former editor of the Racing Post, has been appointed Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief with immediate effect. Peter Crowley and Neill Hughes, the principals of FL Partners, will be Joint-Chairmen of the Racing Post.
Peter Crowley said today: "This is a great day for the Racing Post, its readers and staff because we are passionate about racing and have a real commitment to maximising the potential of this business. We have exciting plans to enhance both the print and online offerings.
"For FL Partners, this is a compelling investment opportunity - a strong cash-generating business with a committed staff and a fantastic brand which can be nurtured, enhanced and developed."
Crowley added: "We are particularly delighted to have secured Alan's involvement in our bid and his appointment as Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief is the clearest signal that FL Partners is a serious, long-term builder of this business, determined to add value for readers, advertisers and, ultimately, our investor base."
Byrne, 45, is a leading figure in racing and bloodstock and was editor of the Racing Post from November 1993 to January 2002, during which time the paper became the dominant player in its market. Since leaving the newspaper, he has been an adviser to a number of racing interests.
He said: "It's a great thrill to return to the Racing Post and I am looking forward to working again with its excellent staff. As well as being 'the bible' for racing people, the paper's extensive coverage of football, golf and all other sports has a very strong following.
"Everyone in the racing, bloodstock and betting industries relies on the Racing Post as the definitive source of data and quality editorial coverage. It is our job now to ensure that it meets and exceeds their expectations."
Brough Scott, who helped found the Racing Post in 1986, said: "This is a day all of us at the Racing Post have been waiting for. We are going to have an independent paper focused on serving the racing industry, and a business that can be developed for the multimedia era. It is very good news."
Debt finance for the transaction was provided by Anglo-Irish Bank and legal advice was provided by A&L Goodbody (London).
About the Racing Post
The Racing Post was first published in April 1986 in competition to the Sporting Life which had been in existence from 1859. In just over a decade, it overtook its rival and became the leading industry voice. In 1998, following its sale to the then Mirror Group, the Racing Post was merged with the Sporting Life. Published seven days a week, its audited net average issue sale for August 2007 was 72,184 copies.
Its website, http://www.racingpost.co.uk, is one of the most popular sports websites in Britain and Ireland.
Racing Post also publishes the daily Betting Shop Display and three weekly publications: Racing and Football Outlook, Racing Post Weekender and Raceform Update. It produces the official British form book under the Raceform banner and publishes popular racing books under the Highdown imprint.
About FL Partners
FL Partners is a Dublin-based private equity firm founded by Peter Crowley and Neill Hughes. Peter was previously chief executive of IBI Corporate Finance, Ireland's leading corporate finance house. Neill worked in corporate finance for 16 years. Before starting FL Partners, he was CEO of Island Capital and a Director of IBI Corporate Finance.
FL Partners is focused on long-term investment opportunities in Ireland, the UK and internationally, funding individual transactions through a network of supporting high net-worth individuals and institutions.
SOURCE The Racing Post & FL Partners
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