Wednesday, 09 Sep 2020 10:46 GMT

Rcapital Partners set to acquire Archant

Private investment firm Rcapital Partners has agreed a deal to acquire regional publisher Archant, subject to the approval of a company voluntary agreement (CVA).

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Rcapital says it opted to move forward with the CVA after it was agreed that this represented the best course of action for Archant, given the impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on the business.

As part of the restructuring process, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) will take on the Archant defined benefit pension scheme, with PPF to receive a significant payment under the terms of the CVA.

Rcapital stresses that the vast majority of creditors and all of the company’s staff will be unaffected by the CVA.

“We are incredibly pleased to have worked alongside Archant’s management team and KPMG to put forward a plan that will restructure finances and inject fresh capital into one of Britain’s oldest local newspaper brands,” Rcapital partner Chris Campbell says.

“We are hopeful, that with the support of its creditors, Archant will emerge from this challenging period as a stronger business that continues to provide a vital service to its clients and readership.”

This announcement marks a new chapter in Archant’s history

Archant counts the like of the Norwich Evening News, Eastern Daily Press, The New European, Ipswich Star and Exmouth Journal among its titles.

Simon Bax, executive chairman of Archant, comments: “Before Covid-19, Archant was trading well and the management team were making excellent progress in executing a radical transformation of the business.

“Together with our Trustee and our adviser Western Pension Solutions, we were also making good progress in addressing the company’s considerable pension deficit. The unprecedented economic downturn of the past few months set that progress back considerably.

“This announcement marks a new chapter in Archant’s history. With the backing of our creditors, the route we have secured will see us move forward with a new owner who is incredibly supportive of our strategic direction, respectful of our heritage, and committed to enabling us to continue our journey in the creation of a profitable model for local media.”

Archant needs to secure at least 75% creditor approval in order for the CVA to proceed. Should this be the case, then the acquisition would likely go through in October.

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