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Flagship titles not for sale says Johnston Press

Regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press has moved to dampen speculation that it may sell some of its flagship UK titles to reduce debt.

The company’s decision to call in KPMG to advise on the renewal of its banking facilities later this year led to a flurry of rumours that it was looking to restructure its £450m debt burden by disposing of assets.

Several Sunday newspapers reported that titles such as the Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman could be put up for sale.

But a JP spokesman described the speculation as “wide of the mark” and suggested that while nothing could be ruled out, now was not the ideal time to be selling newspapers.

He pointed out that the papers in question were still profitable and that in the current depressed market they would be unlikely to attract a sale price which reflected their true value.

The firm’s banking facilities do not need to be renewed until 2010 but KPMG will be carrying out preparatory work towards that during 2009.


JP Sub (10/02/2009 09:31:30)
If it means it will save redundancies – sell the bloody things!!

Reporter (10/02/2009 09:38:58)
Easier to say when you don’t work on one of those titles.

Dave (10/02/2009 10:07:25)
Not really Reporter. Selling is a great idea. There are still family-owned newspapers that run along nicely making a profit. Cambridge paper group is one of them, and South London Press, etc. And because they are owned by newspaper people, rather than cretins in Scotland, the “product” is good.

rab (10/02/2009 10:15:05)
Err Dave. Those cretins in Scotland are actually mainly English. Remember that laddie.

Mr_Osato (10/02/2009 10:34:12)
Why buy it piecemeal when you can collect the coppers from the back of your sofa and own the whole group? Of course that brings a 400 million debt but how could you go wrong with the smart and incisive management of John Fry and the help of top management consultancy vultures? Top deal!

dave (10/02/2009 10:41:06)
Rab – I didn’t say they were Scottish, I referred to where they are based. No racism here mate (until it comes to goalkeepers).

Geekay48 (10/02/2009 11:13:06)
Hey, who wants to keep a record of this little conversation and check back in a few months time when they announce the selling of these titles (and probably a few more).
Should I say I’ll eat my laptop if it doesn’t happen . . but more power to the real newspaper people who will make these titles work well into the future!

HT (10/02/2009 16:30:48)
I would buy up some smaller titles with the right staff.