Newspaper print plants change hands

Jo Francis
Friday, October 23, 2020

DMG Media has acquired JPIMedia’s three newspaper printing sites ahead of an expected sale of the rest of the regional publishing group.

Some of JPIMedia's newsbrands
Some of JPIMedia's newsbrands

DMG, which shut its own secondary print site in Didcot in 2017 leaving it with one main print site at Thurrock, has acquired JPIMedia’s print sites in Portsmouth, Dinnington in South Yorkshire, and Carn in Northern Ireland.

In a statement, DMG Media group production director Julia Palmer-Poucher said: “This acquisition reflects our intention to protect and grow the reach of quality journalism through our print media. It better positions us to provide the best quality printing capacity from ideal locations to serve our retailers and readers.”

DMG will continue to print JPIMedia’s regional newspaper titles, which include the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post, as well as titles for other publishers.

The group said that taking over the JPIMedia sites would allow the business to “better manage the printing of its national newspapers across the UK”.

At the end of last year DMG owner DMGT also acquired the i newspaper from JPIMedia in a £49.6m deal.

Unite national officer Louisa Bull commented: “both Unite and our members at the three JPIMedia sites welcome the stability this acquisition brings to them and their families in these uncertain times. The future for JPI seems much more secure.”

A further deal for JPI’s publishing assets is expected to be concluded soon, with Archant and David Montgomery’s National World teamed with private equity house Endless said to have tabled bids, adding to a lengthening list of speculation about potential buyers.

DMG, however, stated that it was “not participating in any prospective discussions to acquire JPIMedia’s regional titles nor is it looking to buy any further printing plants”.

JPIMedia recently published maiden accounts. In the 74 weeks to 4 January 2020, JPIMedia Publishing had sales of just over £131m. It posted an operating loss of £8.9m after exceptional costs, that included £11.4m in restructuring and impairment charges, and £6m in ‘continuity of supply’ payments to keep suppliers on board following the pre-pack sale of the assets of Johnston Press. 

JPIMedia Publishing’s immediate parent company, JPIMedia, posted a £58.9m bottom line loss.

Its directors said that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic would be likely to result in an impairment review of goodwill and its publishing titles for the current financial year.

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