Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Hotgroup to be acquired by Trinity Mirror

The offer price is 20.25 pence per share, valuing the hotgroup at approximately 50.5 million

The hotgroup plc (the hotgroup or the Company) is delighted to announce that subject to certain conditions, Trinity Mirror plc has agreed terms on which it will offer to acquire the entire issued share capital of recruitment specialist the hotgroup in a cash deal. The offer price is 20.25 pence per share, valuing the hotgroup at approximately 50.5 million. The deal will bring together one of the UKís leading recruitment groups and one the UKís largest media organisations to create a powerful new force in recruitment.

The hotgroupís strategy of combining an online and traditional recruitment model has proved successful since its launch in 1999. The Company achieved its position of strength through making fourteen acquisitions since launch, including ten in the last 16 months and notably from the Guardian Media Group in September 2004, driving profits growth. Online profitability was up over 80% in the last six months of 2004 and group profits overall at the last set of interim results were up steeply to 2.728m (before goodwill amortisation, exceptional items, interest and taxation), compared to a loss of 0.398m in the year ended 31 August 2003.

The hotgroupís position of strength has clearly made it an attractive target to major players in the industry and media players such as Trinity Mirror, as it remained the only significant online player outside of media group ownership.

The offer price of 20.25 pence is highly beneficial to shareholders, representing a significant premium to the price prior to announcing an approach had been received. This represents a premium of 72.3% over the closing price of the Company on 21 June 2005 of 11.75 pence.

The hotgroup founder Harvey Sinclair, Managing Director Online and Chris Herrmannsen, Managing Director Recruitment Consultancy, will remain with the hotgroup as it will be run as a separate company within Trinity Mirror. Tony Reeves will remain as Chairman while the company is integrated into the Trinity Mirror Group.

Commenting, Tony Reeves, Chairman of the hotgroup said:

Todayís acquisition of the hotgroup by Trinity Mirror is the culmination of years of building the Company into a leading UK recruitment firm. The hotgroup will now benefit from the enhanced financial strength of Trinity Mirror, and employees from their drive and vision for bringing new technology and media solutions to the recruitment industry. Shareholders will benefit from this highly favourable cash offer.

I feel very proud of what everyone at the hotgroup has achieved together over the last few years and I am excited about what the hotgroup will offer in the