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Guardian publisher sells Auto Trader stake

January 21, 2014

LONDON (AP) — The publisher of the Guardian newspaper said Tuesday it is selling its stake in a car classified service so that it can focus on investing in journalism.

Guardian Media Group said that its 50.1 percent stake in Trader Media Group, which owns Auto Trader, will be sold to private equity firm Apax Partners.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Apax acquired a 49.9 percent stake in 2007 for almost 700 million pounds ($1.2 billion).

The proposed sale will provide a financial boost for Guardian Media Group and its loss-making flagship title. The group said that its sole shareholder, Scott Trust Ltd, has authorized it to reinvest proceeds from the deal so that it could “continue to safeguard the editorial and financial independence of the Guardian.”

“On completion, the sale proceeds will strengthen our balance sheet and position us for further investment and growth in our core business,” chief executive Andrew Miller said.

Tuesday’s move follows a series of disposals by GMG in recent years, including its regional newspaper arm.

The sale is subject to regulatory approval.

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