What does it take to kill journalists’ trade magazine Press Gazette? Nuclear weapons? The news website which had been consigned to history reported Tuesday morning that B2B publisher Progressive Media Group is the latest white knight rescuing the title from closure. It saves the three full-time staff from being axed and the operation will move from Old Street in London to Paddington. News and blogs return to Pressgazette.co.uk from today. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
It’s mission accomplished for Wilmington, which will continue to run the British Press Awards without the expensive nuisance of running a magazine at the same time. The company said in a statement: “We have had a number of discussions with other parties with a view to seeing if there was any possibility of securing the ongoing publication of Press Gazette. We are therefore pleased to announce that yesterday we completed a transaction with Progressive Media Group for them to acquire Press Gazette.”
The deal isn’t the first Wilmington-to-Progressive acquisition: in 2007 Progressive bought most of Wilmington’s trade mags in a £12 million deal as the latter looked to concentrate on its events and training business. Progressive is one of several companies owned by millionaire businessman Mike Danson, who founded and sold Datamonitor and recently completed a buy-out of the remaining 50 percent stake in left wing current affairs mag News Statesman.
Needless to say, PG’s staff are pleased. An understandably relieved Dominic Ponsford, editor of the magazine and website and a former colleague of mine, told me: “I think it’s a positive sign for the industry and for anyone that’s going through a lot of change at the moment. We have a good brand and an influential audience and they think they can make money from that which is very encouraging.” He added there was “a reasonable amount of interest” in the title aside from the Progressive offer. The new owner says it plans “significant investment” in the title, something it has severely lacked during years of budget cutbacks and redundancies.
Many have written obituaries for PG — myself included — and staff past and present even attended a “wake” for the title earlier this month. But somehow it keeps on going…