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JPI in talks to sell newspapers: Sky News
Posted on Tuesday, 09 July 2019 14:31
The hedge fund owners of JPIMedia have launched an auction to sell the i newspaper and regional titles such as The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post, Sky News reported. Sources told the broadcaster that the company had set a preliminary offer deadline for yesterday. Possible suitors include Mediahuis, Archant, the Daily Mail and General Trust, Sky News noted. However, insiders indicated that the latter might not be interested in making a formal bid through the current auction process. When talking to Sky News, a spokesman for JPI said it has hired a financial advisor and is exploring options for the company. According to sources close to the situation, i, the Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman are likely to receive interest from buyers, but smaller titles may struggle due to question marks over their viability. Sky News noted the auction comes during a troubling period for publishing, as digital platforms such as Facebook and Google continue to grow. That said, JPI’s new owners could transform the titles into profitable subscription-based assets like US paper the New York Times, sources told the broadcaster. Founded in 2018, JPI is billed as one of the largest national, regional and local multimedia organisations in the UK. The company was formed after acquiring the assets of multimedia business Johnston Press in November 2018, following the latter filing for administration in the same month. It has 2,000 employees across the country and includes titles such as The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Edinburgh Evening News and The Yorkshire Post. The sale of JPI’s newspapers follows an independent review of UK journalism led by Dame Frances Cairncross earlier this year, Sky News noted. In the report, it was suggested that the government should pursue funding and tax reliefs for local news and public-interest journalism. Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, shows there have been 49 deals targeting newspaper publishers announced worldwide since the beginning of 2019. In the largest of these, COFIDE agreed to acquire CIR for EUR 281.36 million. © Zephus Ltd