The Lebedev Standard, Part 2: City reaction muted

The Times suggested that Paul Dacre’s hands were shaking when he announced the sale of the Evening Standard to staff yesterday.

The Independent went further, suggesting that Dacre’s entire frame ‘appeared to tremble slightly”.

The Guardian didn’t mention corporeal vibrations. But it got the best quote. Allegedly, Dacre told staff:

“It’s a very sad day for the paper, it’s a very sad day for the Rothermeres. . . We are very sorry that it leaked out, we had no control over that. Everyone’s been working very hard and there’s a lot of hope for the future of the Evening Standard.”

But just as Tony Blair didn’t do god, the City, of course, doesn’t do sadness. Neither was it very interested in the disposal of the Standard.

Notably, DMGT’s announcement contained zero discussion of how getting rid of the Standard‘s losses might enhance the lot of shareholders. Analysts at UBS had a go at quantifying the effects — and came away distinctly unimpressed.

According to UBS analysts, getting rid of the Standard‘s losses will improve DMGT’s earnings (ie: profits) – but only by 5% once allowances are made for a deterioration in B2B profits. The effect on DMGT’s debt-EBITDA ratios will be small, said UBS.

Likewise, the effect on DMGT’s share price. Yesterday, it barely registered a reaction. Today seems little different.

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