According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the owner of the Daily Mail is weighing up a bid for JPI’s national daily i newspaper, buoyed by the £300m sale of its energy information arm Genscape.
DMGT is previously believed to be responsible for one of two bids for the i worth £25m and £35m that were tabled when JPI predecessor Johnston Press shopped around to sell its assets before entering administration with debts of £220m in November.
Up to eight other companies are said to be mulling bids for assorted JPI assets, which includes more than 100 regional titles. Names already in circulation included Newsquest and Archant, as well as Mediahuis, the Belgian media group which acquired Irish publisher Indepentent News & Media for £133.3m in April.
Reach was the first to confirm it was in discussions to acquire “certain of JPI Media’s assets” shortly after the initial announcement that publisher JPI was looking to sell.
One-time Mirror Group chief executive and Fleet Street veteran David Montgomery is also reported to be preparing a takeover of JPI as he kicks off a build-and-buy acquisition spree through his investment company National World.
DC Thomson was reported to have ruled out bidding on the assets in spite of its recent acquisition spree, considering titles such as The Scotsman to be “overvalued”.
It was previously reported by The Times that buyer focus “tends to be on national titles, although city papers including Edinburgh Evening News and The Star in Sheffield are profitable performers in the group”.
Any deal is expected to be completed by “the end of next month”.
DMGT declined to comment when approached by PrintWeek.
JPI Media was formed in November by a consortium of Johnston Press debt investors led by US hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management to acquire publisher in a pre-pack administration deal.