TSL journalists hit the jackpot following sale

Journalists at TSL Education are to cash in to the tune of nearly £9,000 each on share options as a result of the takeover of the company by private equity firm Charterhouse Capital Partners, according to NUJ father of chapel Neil Turner.

Turner said only a handful of people in editorial who took up the option to buy shares in the firm when News International sold the titles in 2005.

"Those of us who did paid £200 each to buy share options, and the return is likely to be in the region of £9,000. We have been promised a similar option with the new owners," he said.

Staff were informed of the takeover last Monday.

TSL, which publishes the Times Educational Supplement and the Times Higher Education Supplement, was bought by Exponent in October 2005 for £235m.

The deal led to journalists at TSL reviving their NUJ chapel for the first time since the titles moved to Wapping under Rupert Murdoch in the mid-Eighties.

Last July, some 28 editorial staff, out of a total of 86, were made redundant. The following month, TSL chief executive Bernard Gray pledged there would be no more redundancies while he was with the company.

Exponent also claimed to be spending £5 million on a relaunch and redesign of the TES. Turner said: "The chief executive's explanation was that the new private equity company must have paid quite a high amount of money – certainly more than the £235m we were originally sold for.

"The new owners have called an offsite company meeting next Friday to talk through the issues.

"I don't envisage any major upheavals. The company has paid a large sum of money and they can't retain that value in the business by cutting – they need to build and expand. All the pain was last summer."

The Times Higher Education Supplement is currently being redesigned as a magazine, changing from newspaper format, which has resulted in non-replacement of staff and it is also likely to prompt a number of job changes."

Turner said: "If there is an incompatibility between the current workforce and what's needed in the new job structure, then they will talk to the union first. That's all you can ask in this day and age."

Charterhouse declined to comment on the acquisition.

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