The Guardian and Emap

This is oh so deliciously amusing.

While The Guardian campaigned to close tax loopholes enjoyed by Grabiner and his colleagues with headlines like "Private equity stole our pensions", McCall spent much of 2007 negotiating two major deals with Apax.

In the first she sold Apax a 49pc stake in Trader Media Group, publisher of Auto Trader and GMG\’s biggest cash generator. In the second, which completed last Thursday, the pair have spent £1bn acquiring Emap Communications.

Will Willy Hutton\’s broadsides (and Polly T\’s, come to that) against the iniquities of private equity now cease?

And, as w saw from that Telegraph report a couple of weeks ago, this was structured through a Cayman Islands company, in order to (entirely legally) avoid stamp duty. Will Richard Murphy now turn his guns on GMG?

The Trader deal involved loading the company with over £800m of debt. Emap Communications is carrying £700m. GMG will receive a regular dividend, but most of the profits will go into servicing those loans.

Oh, and will the iniquity of interest payments being written off against taxable profits still be a target?

The paper\’s columnist, Polly Toynbee, has written that private equity is "a return to primitive, unregulated capitalism". But in a world of declining profits for traditional media, it may also hold the key to her paper\’s future.


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