July 26 (Reuters) - John Menzies Plc is selling its newspaper distribution business to private equity firm Endless LLP for an enterprise value of 74.5 million pounds ($98.33 million), marking its transition to a pure-play aviation services group.
The sale comes nearly a year after a proposed merger between British mail delivery company DX Group and John Menzies collapsed following months of fraught negotiations, with the two sides unable to agree terms.
The sale will allow John Menzies to focus on its aviation business, which provides cargo and passenger ground handling services across the world.
John Menzies will retain a 10 percent equity stake in the newspaper distribution division, which will also be responsible for the funding of Section B of the Menzies defined benefit pension scheme.
John Menzies said Forsyth Black, currently president and managing director of Menzies Aviation, will be appointed as its chief executive officer.
Menzies Aviation continues to trade positively and is on track to deliver full-year expectations, the company said.
While labour issues in North America continue, the company said they were more than offset by positive trading and momentum in contract wins. ($1 = 0.7577 pounds) (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)