DMGT buys i newspaper

Nick Mansley
Friday, November 29, 2019

Newspaper group DMGT has bought the i newspaper from JPI Media for nearly £50m.

The i had sales of £34m in 2018
The i had sales of £34m in 2018

The Daily Mail owner’s Consumer Media business purchased the national newspaper and website for £49.6m cash consideration, twice what JPI paid for it when it acquired the title from Independent Print in 2016.

The announcement comes after Reach confirmed this morning that it was withdrawing its bid for JPI’s assets.

JPI has been negotiating the sale of the i and its regional titles since July. DMGT was invited to bid for the newspaper and website in September.

DMGT CEO Paul Zwillenberg said: “The i is a strong print title and has an established reputation for quality journalism, with three quarters of revenues coming from its cover price and a quarter from advertising.

"The business generated £11m of cash operating income in 2018 and we believe that there are opportunities for synergies. The i is a cash-generative print title and has a clear role to play within the DMGT portfolio as one of our ‘Predictable performer’ businesses.”

Zwillenber added that “there are likely to be some synergies around printing, production and distribution but they will take a little time to come through”.

The i had sales of £34m in 2018, selling 170,000 newspapers each weekday and over 190,000 copies of the iweekend each Saturday. The website, inews.co.uk, attracts approximately 300,000 daily unique browsers.

It is anticipated that the acquisition will be reviewed by the UK Competition and Markets Authority. According to a report in the Guardian, the deal will give DMGT a circa-29% share of the national newspaper market.

Newsquest is believed to have secured 'preferred bidder' status for JPI Media’s regional titles after topping Reach’s estimated £50m bid for the company.

Lord Rothermere, chairman of DMGT, commented: “We are delighted to welcome the i to our stable of media brands. It is a highly respected publication with a loyal and engaged readership. We are committed to preserving its distinctive, high quality and politically independent editorial style.”

Zwillender added: "Despite the structural challenges facing the industry, [the i's] revenues continue to grow which is testament to the quality of the product."

“We are confident that, under the ownership of DMGT, it will benefit from the Group’s long-term approach and commitment to investing in editorial content. In addition, we are acquiring a digital business where we see the potential to invest and deliver growth.”

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