Newsquest in frame for JPI titles
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Newsquest could outbid Reach to acquire JPI Media’s local newspaper portfolio, according to reports.
Reach had been viewed as the frontrunner to acquire JPI’s regional titles, including The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, with a bid figure of around £50m mooted.
Reach had confirmed it was in early talks about the potential acquisition of JPI’s regional brands over the summer.
However, the Guardian has now reported that Newsquest, the owner of 165 news brands and more than 40 magazines, could table a higher bid.
Newsquest Media Group is owned by US-headquartered Gannett. The UK business had sales of £197.3m last year.
Gannett was itself taken over earlier this year by local media specialist New Media Investment Group, in a $1.4bn (£1.1bn) deal that created the largest newspaper business in the US.
The potential Newsquest deal could result in regulatory hurdles in Scotland, where JPI publishes The Scotsman and Newsquest publishes The National, The Herald and Sunday Herald.
David Montgomery’s new National World ‘buy and build’ business was also named as a potential suitor for JPI earlier this year, when eight possible bidders were in the frame.
Daily Mail owner DMGT is also believed to have offered £50m for the i newspaper, JPI’s national daily.
JPI Media is controlled by a consortium of former investors in Johnston Press. It acquired Johnston Press a year ago in a pre-pack deal that offloaded its crippling debt.
Other names previously said to have been mulling bids for JPI Media’s assets have included Archant and Belgian media group Mediahuis, which acquired Irish publisher Independent News & Media in April.