Guardian Media Group is set to distance the Guardian, Observer and guardian.co.uk from the other assets in the group as part of a wide-ranging shake-up.
The Sunday Times reported yesterday that the move will ‘draw a line under ambitions to be a multi-media group’by placing everything outside the Guardian News and Media national press division into an investment portfolio which will be sold off over time.
The Guardian has always had special status within Guardian Media Group. The Scott Trust, which owns GMG, has a specific remit to safeguard the journalism of The Guardian in perpetuity.
Press Gazette understands that under changes brought in by new GMG chief executive Andrew Miller, assets outside the Guardian News and Media national press division will be treated as arms-length investments. This means that all GMG’s management and operational focus will be on GNM.
GMG’s other assets include GMG Radio, GMG Property Services and joint ventures: Emap and Trader Media Group.
GMG made a pre-tax loss of £171m on turnover of £476.2m in the year to March, but proceeds from profitable joint ventures Emap and Trader Media Group were ring-fenced. In the year to March they made operating profits of £90.1m and £104.8m respectively.
The Sunday Times speculates that GMG could be left with cash of £1.5bn if it sells off all its non GNM assets. Such a sum of money could be used to create a charitable foundation along the lines of the Wellcome Trust which could use investment income to underwrite Guardian journalism.
GNM made an operating loss before exceptional items of £37.8m in the year to March.