Guardian losses point to Graeme Wood loan

Graeme Wood, the founder of wotif杭州后花园m. Photo: Peter Rae Photo: Peter RaeWotif co-founder Graeme Wood’s investment in The Guardian Australia will not be repaid until 2018 – provided certain hurdles are met.

Mr Wood, who stands to make $140 million if the sale of Wotif proceeds, invested an undisclosed amount in The Guardian’s local operations, which launched in May last year.

But the accounts for Guardian Media Group, the parent company of guardian杭州后花园m publisher Guardian News & Media, give some guide to the size of the investment.

They state that GMG ”received investment to finance the expansion of the group’s activities in Australia. Subject to certain performance conditions being met, these unsecured borrowings are expected to mature no earlier than 2018”.

That investment is included in GMG’s non-current external borrowings and interest of £8.2 million ($14.94 million), up from £2.5 million ($4.55 million) last year.

The local subsidiary, GNM Australia, is yet to file its 2014 accounts. Its 2013 accounts show it had borrowings of $8.58 million and cash of $4.5 million.

Of Mr Wood’s investment, Guardian Media Group chief executive Andrew Miller has said: ”It’s a loan, so he will get his money back first. But if we decide not to continue in Australia, then there’s no obligation to repay the loan.”

GMG this week reported a loss before taxation from continuing operations of £26.1 million ($47.5 million) for the 2014 financial year. This was an improvement on the previous year’s loss of £43.9 million ($80 million).

Director Darren Singer said: ”The group is on track with its transformation to reduce operating losses while growing digital revenue and its international presence.

”The future will focus on ongoing improvement in underlying performance and reductions in cash used in operations, while continuing to grow audience reach and engagement, and prioritise innovation in award-winning journalism and editorial products.”

Mr Wood pulled his investment in The Global Mail, Australia’s first philanthropically-funded, not-for-profit news and features website, at the start of the year. He was the start-up’s non-executive chairman and had committed between $15 and $20 million to it.

The Guardian Australia’s readership is not audited by the Audited Media Association of Australia. According to Nielsen, The Guardian Australia was the country’s 9th best-read publication in May, with a unique audience of 1.86 million.

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