A new chapter for Reader's Digest after rescue mission

THE British arm of Reader's Digest magazine was rescued from administration yesterday by private equity veteran Jon Moulton.

His private equity vehicle, Better Capital, teamed up with the 72-year-old magazine's management team to create a special purpose vehicle to buy the business.

Management will hold a 35 per cent stake in the new company.

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Better Capital said it anticipates committing a total of 13 million to finance the transaction and fund future growth, injected in a combination of equity and loan stock yet to be finalised.

Sean Cooper, a member of Better Capital, will join the board of the acquisition vehicle.

Moulton said the trade and assets were acquired from joint administrators Philip Sykes, Jeremy Willmont and William Beach of Moore Stephens.

The assets acquired had a book value of 7m at 31 March. Following the transaction, the new company will have no bank debt.

Reader's Digest UK's revenues for the year to 30 June 2008 were 85m, with an operating loss before exceptional items of 1m.

The staple magazine of dentists' waiting rooms called in administrators on 17 February when its embattled US parent Reader's Digest Association said it was no longer able to support it following a crisis in its pension fund.