Daily Mail owner sells education arm in £293m deal

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

The owner of the Daily Mail has agreed a deal to sell its education technology arm for 410 million dollars (£293.4 million) in an effort to strengthen its finances during the pandemic.

Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) saw shares rise on Friday morning after it said it would sell its Hobsons business in two separate transactions.

It will offload Hobsons’ Naviance and Intersect businesses to US education technology firm PowerSchool for about 320 million dollars.

Meanwhile, DMGT will spin out its college-focused Starfish business from the rest of the Hobsons stable to sell it to fellow US firm EAB for 90 million dollars.

Hobsons, which underwent a major restructuring in 2017, generated £6 million in adjusted operating profit from revenues of £85 million in the last financial year.

It comes after DMGT saw print circulations hammered by the pandemic.

The group, which also owns the i and Metro newspaper titles, reported a 15% slump in revenues in the three months to the end of December.

Paul Zwillenberg, chief executive of DMGT, said: “The divestitures will increase the focus of the DMGT portfolio, resulting in the group operating in four sectors, compared to 10 in 2016.

“The proceeds will strengthen DMGT’s existing net cash position, further enhancing its significant financial flexibility.”

Shares in DMGT were 3.7% higher at 808.9p in early trading.

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