By Hannah Jordan, Monday 13 May 2019
Independently owned regional newspaper and magazine publisher Archant could be put up for sale, according to reports.
Owners of the Norwich-headquartered firm are understood to be in discussions over whether to sell the 174-year-old firm, according to a report in The Telegraph this morning.
The business, which was founded in 1845 by Jacob Henry Tillet, Jeremiah Colman, founder of Colman’s mustard, John Copeman and Thomas Jarrold has since grown to become the fifth largest regional newspaper publisher and the largest publisher of regional and local lifestyle magazines and specialist magazine titles in the UK.
It publishes four daily newspapers – the East Anglian Daily Times, Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News and Ipswich Star – as well as around 50 weekly newspapers and around 80 consumer and contract magazines.
It runs its own printing operation, which prints the majority of the organisation’s newspaper titles and offers a contract printing service.
In recent months the business has been taking measures to offset the effects of continuing declining advertising revenues and print readership numbers, which have seen group revenues drop from £95.5m in 2017 to £87.2m last year, while operating profit fell from £4.7m to £2.7m in the same period.
According to reports in March this year, Archant announced that it was to close five newspaper offices across three counties, as part of its cost cutting measures, but that no job losses or title closure would result. The organisation employs around 1,200 staff.
At the time of writing Archant had not responded to PrintWeek’s request for a comment.
It comes as a report last week stated that the chief executive of the newly formed JPI Media, formerly Johnston Press before its acquisition in November last year, had been forced to address rumours that the business was set to sell of a selection of titles including the i newspaper.
In an email sent to JPI Media staff and published in the Press Gazette, David King said: "Nothing has been decided and there is no formal sale process underway. We are developing business plans for the group and as part of this process we are working with advisers to help us and our new owners assess those plans and opportunities."