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Newspaper group puts itself up for sale in bid to ‘secure jobs’

Máirtiín Ó MuilleoiThe publisher of three local newspapers has put itself up for sale in a bid to “secure jobs and attract fresh investment”.

Belfast Media Group, which runs the bi-weekly Andersonstown News, as well as weekly titles the North Belfast News and South Belfast News, says it has made the decision due to the “decline of print media and falling ad revenue”.

Managing director Máirtiín Ó Muilleoir, pictured, who also sits as a Sinn Féin member for Belfast South in the Northern Irish Assembly, has called on a “progressive partner or purchaser” to come forward.

According to an assessment of the company’s accounts by the Irish News, the business had 38 staff at the end of 31 March 2018

BMG also runs the New York-base Irish Echo, which was established in 1928 and claims to be the oldest Irish-American newspaper in the United States of America.

Posting on Twitter on Tuesday, Mr Ó Muilleoir said: “Belfast Media Group’s Andersonstown News and North Belfast News are institutions providing first-class news service while building up the community they serve.

“But with decline of print media and falling ad revenue, it’s time for a new chapter with a progressive partner or purchaser who can build for the future.

“I started consultation today with the Belfast Media Group team and partners to agree best way to secure jobs, attract fresh investment and create a sustainable business, which can continue to provide top-quality news service,” he said.

“It is business as usual until then and I am confident of a positive outcome.”

Last year tBMG put its entire offices and print hall on the market after outsourcing printing operations to Johnston Press.

Real estate firm McKibbin seeking offers of at least £750,000 for the Hannahstown Hill site, in Belfast, with a planned relocation being given as the reason for sale.

However, the property company confirmed to the Irish News on Tuesday that it was no longer marketing the property for sale.