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Montgomery ‘invited for talks’ as JPIMedia battle takes fresh turn

David MontgomeryFormer Local World boss David Montgomery is said to be the surprise new front-runner to buy JPIMedia amid unconfirmed reports that Newsquest has dropped out of the race.

JPIMedia announced it had sold its flagship national newspaper the i to the owner of the Daily Mail for nearly £50m on Friday, on the day that Reach plc revealed it was no longer in discussions

The move by Reach was seen as clearing the way for fellow regional publishing giant Newsquest to take over JPIMedia, which has been up for sale since the summer.

But the FT claimed in a report that Newsquest’s interest has also now cooled, leaving Mr Montgomery’s newly-formed company National World as the favoured bidder.

According to the FT, Mr Montgomery was invited in for detailed takeover discussions by JPIMedia on Saturday.

Newsquest has declined to comment on the FT’s claims, but National World has now confirmed its interest in buying JPI.

“The company confirms it is contemplating several acquisitions and has approached JPI following speculation that the sale process for the regional titles had not completed,” it said in a statement.

“There is no certainty that any transaction will proceed. A further announcement will be made as appropriate in due course.”

National World was formed in the summer as a new takeover vehicle with the aim of building a stake in the UK newspaper sector.

Mr Montgomery spearheaded the purchase of Northcliffe Media by Local World, a consortium of regional newspaper publishers and investors, before the company was sold to Trinity Mirror – now Reach – in 2015.

Meanwhile journalists on JPI Media’s Scottish titles, which include The Scotsman and the Edinburgh Evening News, have expressed their anxiety over the prospect of a takeover.

It follows proposals for redundancies at the rival Herald and Times titles, currently owned by Newsquest.

John Toner, NUJ national organiser, said: “Journalists’ jobs being threatened at any time is worrying, but at this particularly febrile time in our country’s politics, it is more important than ever that we have people to hold power to account.

“Just because these cuts have been announced at one publishers titles, does not mean that it does not affect other parts of the Scottish media.

“There are many rumours regarding the upcoming purchase of the JPI Media titles, and staff there are equally concerned that any future owner may wish to implement similar cuts after the acquisition.

“We remind any potential owner that it remains the position of the joint chapel in Edinburgh that any threat of compulsory redundancies will trigger a ballot for industrial action.”

4 comments

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  • December 5, 2019 at 2:31 pm
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    assume he’ll be the next one to drop out once his cunning plan to take over the company and strip out people, assets and budgets to the bare minimum falls over on the fact that the company is already running with less than the bare minimum needed to actually publish something, anything.

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  • December 6, 2019 at 2:39 pm
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    Every prospective buyer knows full well that the JP iphone company is astonishingly management top heavy with digital gurus trying to kill off what little there is left of regional and local newpapers.

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  • December 6, 2019 at 3:55 pm
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    NIck G – that’s true, there is ample scope for a sensible person to cut back there
    I was thinking more of people who actually do things

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  • December 9, 2019 at 1:44 pm
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    not a lot to cut back in JP media these days hardly a soul left !

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