Guardian Media Group

Last updated
Guardian Media Group plc
Type Public limited company
Industry Media
Founded1907;114 years ago (1907) (Manchester Guardian)
1993 (1993) (Guardian Media Group plc)
Founder C. P. Scott
United Kingdom
Area served
England, Wales
Key people
Neil Berkett
Products Newspapers, websites
RevenueIncrease2.svg £254.4 million (2017 - 2018) [1]
Increase2.svg £8.5 million [1]
Increase2.svg £8 million [1]
Owner Scott Trust Limited
Divisions Guardian News & Media
Top Right Group (formerly Emap)
GMG Property Services Group

Guardian Media Group plc (GMG) is a British-based mass media company owning various media operations including The Guardian and The Observer . The group is wholly owned by the Scott Trust Limited, which exists to secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity.


The Group's 2018 annual report (year ending 1 April 2018) indicated that the Scott Trust Endowment Fund was valued at £1.01 billion (2017: £1.03bn). [2]


The company was founded as the Manchester Guardian Ltd. in 1907 when C. P. Scott bought the Manchester Guardian (founded in 1821) [3] from the estate of his cousin Edward Taylor.

It became the Manchester Guardian and Evening News Ltd when it bought out the Manchester Evening News in 1924, later becoming the Guardian and Manchester Evening News Ltd to reflect the change in the morning paper's title. It adopted its current name in 1993.

In 1991 it had a 20% stake in a consortium which included LWT, STV, The Walt Disney Company and Carlton Communications for a new ITV breakfast franchise called GMTV

Guardian Monthly was a glossy magazine published by the Guardian Media Group for readers around the world. [4] Launched in November 2006, [5] it made selections from The Guardian and The Observer ’s magazine supplements available to an international audience of English-speakers. [6] Issues contained interviews with cultural figures, features about world issues, and regular articles on travel, books, sport, health, fashion, food and photography. In July 2007, the Guardian Media Group announced the cancellation of the Guardian Monthly. [7] In a letter to subscribers, Will Ricketts, Guardian Monthly's publisher, explained the reasons for the cancellation of the monthly magazine:

The company is taking a long-term strategic view of its activities and although Guardian Monthly has performed well in the busy and competitive international marketplace, we have decided that it is not the right time to continue with a global magazine offering.

In March 2007 GMG sold 49.9% of Trader Media Group to Apax Partners, in a deal that valued Trader Media Group at £1.35 billion. In December 2007 it was announced that GMG and Apax had made a successful bid to buy Emap's business-to-business arm for around £1 billion. [8]

In February 2010, the group sold its GMG Regional Media division (consisting of two companies MEN Media and S&B Media which operated 31 local and regional newspaper titles) to Trinity Mirror for £44.8 million. The sale ended the historic connection between The Guardian and Manchester as the sale of the Manchester Evening News was included in the package. [9] The division's local television station for Greater Manchester, Channel M, and two newspapers in Woking were not included in the sale.

In June 2012, Global Radio acquired GMG Radio from Guardian Media Group plc. [10]

In January 2014, GMG disposed of its remaining interest in Trader Media Group. [11]

Carolyn McCall was the chief executive of Guardian Media Group and chair of Guardian News and Media Limited from 2006 until June 2010, when she was appointed chief executive of EasyJet. [12] Andrew Miller, previously the chief financial officer of the Group, was chief executive from July 2010 to 2015. David Pemsel took his place in 2015. [13] In January 2020, it was announced that Annette Thomas would become the new chief executive in March 2020. [14]

In October 2017, the Guardian Media Group reported a plan to launch a new £42 million venture capital fund. [15] That plan was consummated, making the Scott Trust a limited partner in GMG Ventures LP. According to the GMG 2018 annual report, "this £42m venture capital fund is designed to contribute financial returns and to support GMG’s strategy by investing in early stage businesses focused on developing the next generation of media technology". [2]

In January 2020 GMG announced Annette Thomas, former editor of Nature, MD of Nature Publishing Group and chief executive of Macmillan Science and Education, as its new chief executive. She replaced David Pemsel who left to take up a role at the Premier League. [16]

In May 2021 The Daily Telegraph reported that there was serious conflict between The Guardian editor Katharine Viner and Thomas about finances and the direction the newspaper should take. The previous year The Guardian announced 180 job cuts. Thomas had earlier said at a media industry conference "we have quality content in spades ... the job at hand is to now go further by strengthening the growing elements of our business". Viner wanted renewed investment after better than feared financial results in 2020. [17] On 9 June 2021 it was announced that Thomas would leave the Guardian Media Group at the end of the month. [18] [19]

Group structure

GMG's core business is Guardian News & Media Limited, publisher of, and The Guardian and The Observer newspapers. Guardian News & Media was formed as Guardian Newspapers Limited in 1967, adopting its present name in 2006.

The group has a portfolio of investments to help support its journalism. [20] They comprise:

Guardian Media Group exists to support the core purpose of its owner, Scott Trust Limited: to secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity, [21] but in the 2011/12 year the group lost £75.6 million, [22] and for the three years up to June 2012, the paper itself lost £100,000 a day - leading Intelligent Life magazine to question whether The Guardian can survive. [23] In late 2013 GMG sold their GMG Property Services Group to private equity firm Lloyds Development Capital (rebranded to Property Software Group), citing that it would allow them to focus on investing in the core part of their businessGuardian News and Media. [24] In 2014, The Guardian launched a membership scheme, aiming to avoid introducing a paywall and maintaining open access to the website. As of 2018 this approach was considered successful, having brought more than 1 million subscriptions or donations, with the paper hoping to break even by April 2019, [25] a goal they achieved in May 2019. [26]

Corporate governance

Board of directors

The board of directors are: [27]

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 3 "Annual Report and Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended 1 April 2018", Guardian Media Group , April 1, 2018
  2. 1 2 "Guardian Media Group plc (GMG) results for the financial year ended 1 April 2018". The Guardian. 24 July 2018.
  3. "History | Guardian Media Group PLC". Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  4. "Guardian to launch monthly mag". Press Gazette . 2006-09-05. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  5. "Media choice: Guardian Monthly". Campaign . 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  6. Armstrong, Murray (2006-10-05). "New Guardian Monthly mag to be launched". The Guardian . Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  7. "Guardian Monthly ceases publication". Press Gazette . 2007-07-30. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  8. Mark Sweney. "Emap confirms B2B sale to GMG and Apax". the Guardian.
  9. "Manchester Evening News sold by Guardian Media Group". Manchester Evening News. 2010-02-09. Archived from the original on 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  10. "Global Radio acquires GMG Radio | Guardian Media Group PLC". 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  11. "Guardian Media Group to divest holding in Trader Media". 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  12. Davies, Caroline (23 March 2010). "Guardian group chief executive Carolyn McCall to join easyJet". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  13. Sweney, Mark (18 June 2015). "Guardian Media Group appoints David Pemsel as chief executive". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  14. editor, Jim Waterson Media (January 14, 2020). "Guardian Media Group appoints new chief executive" via maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  15. "The Guardian turns venture capitalist in hunt for new income". The Telegraph. 18 October 2017.
  16. Mayhew, Freddy (14 January 2020). "Guardian group names scientist Annette Thomas as new chief executive". Press Gazette. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  17. Williams, Christopher (17 May 2021). "Guardian leaders clash over 'who calls the shots'" . The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  18. "Chief executive Annette Thomas to leave Guardian Media Group". The Guardian. 9 June 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  19. Field, Matthew (9 June 2021). "Guardian boss steps down in wake of power struggle" . The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  20. "Our investments | Guardian Media Group PLC". Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  21. "The Scott Trust - The Guardian". the Guardian.
  22. "Guardian Media Group plc (GMG) announces full-year results for 2011/2012". the Guardian.
  23. "Can The Guardian Survive?". More Intelligent Life. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  24. "Private equity backing for £17.8m buyout of GMG group" . Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  25. Viner, Katharine (12 November 2018). "The Guardian's reader funding model is working. It's inspiring". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  26. Viner, Katharine (1 May 2019). "The Guardian breaks even against the odds: we couldn't have done this without you". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  27. "GMG board". Guardian News and Media. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016.

Related Research Articles

DeHavilland Media and public affairs company

DeHavilland Information Services Ltd is a British media company that provides political monitoring services for public affairs professionals. The company was founded in 1998 by Conservative MP Adam Afriyie.

The Scott Trust Limited is the British company that owns Guardian Media Group and thus The Guardian and The Observer as well as various other media businesses in the UK. In 2008, it replaced the Scott Trust, which had owned The Guardian since 1936.

<i>Manchester Evening News</i>

The Manchester Evening News is a regional daily newspaper covering Greater Manchester in North West England, founded in 1868. It is published Monday–Saturday; a Sunday edition, the MEN on Sunday, was launched in February 2019. The newspaper is owned by Reach plc ,[2] one of Britain's largest newspaper publishing groups.

Alan Rusbridger Newspaper journalist and editor

Alan Charles Rusbridger is a British journalist, Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and the former editor-in-chief of The Guardian.

GMG Radio, and for a short while Real and Smooth Limited, was a company that owned the Real Radio and Smooth Radio networks. As GMG Radio, the company was the radio division of the Guardian Media Group until it was bought in 2012 by Global Radio, however pending regulatory review of the merger the company was renamed Real and Smooth Limited and operated as a separate entity, until May 2014.

<i>Reading Post</i>

The Reading Post was an English local newspaper covering Reading, Berkshire and surrounding areas. The title page of the paper featured the Maiwand Lion, a famous local landmark at Forbury Gardens. The paper was most recently published by Surrey & Berkshire Media Ltd., a division of Trinity Mirror plc.

Apax Partners

Apax Partners LLP is a British private equity firm, headquartered in London, England. The company also operates out of six other offices in New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Munich and Shanghai. As of December 2017, the firm, including its various predecessors, have raised approximately $51 billion (USD) since 1981. Apax Partners is one of the oldest and largest private equity firms operating on an international basis, ranked the fourteenth largest private equity firm globally.

Auto Trader Group plc is a British automotive classified advertising business. It specialises in new and second hand automotive sales, including cars sold by private sellers and trade dealers. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Swinton Insurance is a UK insurance retailer that was established in 1957. The company offers a range of insurance products from a panel of UK insurers covering car, bike, home, commercial, taxi and caravan insurance.

<i>Guardian US</i>

Guardian US is the Manhattan-based American online presence of the British print newspaper The Guardian. It launched in September 2011, led by editor-in-chief Janine Gibson, and followed the earlier Guardian America service, which was closed in 2009. Guardian US is only available online. John Mulholland, appointed in January 2018, is the editor of Guardian US.

Carolyn McCall British businessperson

Dame Carolyn Julia McCall, is a Scottish-Irish businesswoman and the chief executive of ITV since 2018. She previously served as the chief executive of easyJet from 2010 to 2017.

<i>The Guardian</i> British national daily newspaper

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of The Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.

Katharine Sophie Viner is a British journalist and playwright. She became the first female editor-in-chief at The Guardian on 1 June 2015 succeeding Alan Rusbridger. Viner previously headed The Guardian's web operations in Australia and the United States, before being selected for the editor-in-chief's position.

<i>Guardian Australia</i> Australian online newspaper

Guardian Australia is the Australian website of the British global online and print newspaper, The Guardian.

Gavin Patterson British marketer (born 1967)

Gavin Patterson is a Global Executive who is President & Chief Revenue Officer Salesforce. Patterson served as Chief Executive of BT Group from 2013–19. During his tenure at BT, he completed the U.K. rollout of the superfast fiber and started the deployment of the ultrafast fiber. He led the $19.7 billion acquisition of EE, launched BT Sport, expanded BT’s cybersecurity practice, and championed BT’s social purpose agenda. He joined BT in 2004 as MD Consumer and joined the board as CEO of BT Retail in 2008. Prior to BT, he spent four years at Virgin Media and nine years at Procter & Gamble. Patterson is a Non-Executive Director at British Airways, the APAX-backed AI business Fractal, and a Trustee of the British Museum. He graduated from Cambridge University with a master of engineering degree in chemical engineering.

Neil Berkett is a New Zealand-born England-based businessperson.

Annette Thomas is an American-born publishing executive specializing in science publishing, who lives in the United Kingdom. In 2020, she was named chief executive of the Guardian Media Group, but left the role in June 2021.