The regional publisher’s chief executive, pictured left, says the company is “more likely to be buying than we are to be selling” once the business has been restructured.
Over recent years JP has paid off tens of millions of pounds worth of debt accumulated during the 1990s when it bought up scores of UK newspaper titles, but it still has £220m worth of bonds due to be repaid by 2019.
JP bought the i newspaper last year, but has also sold a number of regional titles to Iliffe and Tindle in recent months.
Ashley was quizzed about whether the company planned to sell of any further titles in an appearance on The Media Show on BBC Radio 4.
He told presenter Amol Rajan: “We have no plans to sell off anything at the moment and indeed I would love to make more acquisitions, and one of the reasons for getting the debt sorted on the business is so that we can start to look at more investments.
“If it were a position after we have restructured the business we are more likely to be buying than we are to be selling.”
Ashley also told the BBC that in August The Scotsman had become JP’s first title to see its advertising revenue come equally from print and digital.
He said: “There is an absolute long-term future in news brands regionally both in print and online but the future is to build our biggest assets, those big websites in cities like Sheffield where we have something like a million unique users.
“There should be no business in Sheffield that doesn’t use the Sheffield Star’s website and the editor there has done a fantastic job with the team over the last year of building that website by 50 per cent.
“This is a growth industry the trouble is people in the industry are way too focused on declining print whereas actually overall audiences are growing very strongly and as the example of the Scotsman, actually as more and more of the advertising spend moves to digital we can get this business back to growth. Large sections of our business, take the Midlands for instance, are in growth year on year.”
Ashley added: “There is no silver bullet in this industry what we’ve got to do is focus on building our digital products whilst trying to preserve print circulation and that we’re doing.”
His comments come after a planned takeover by Christen Ager-Hanssen, who owns 12.6pc of JP, hit a snag earlier this week following the discovery of a bondholder agreement clause, which means any attempt to appoint three or more new directors would necessitate the company’s £220m debt being repaid.