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Newsquest set to win JPIMedia battle as Reach ‘pulls out’ of race

Reach squareNewsquest is in pole position to win the bidding war for regional publisher JPIMedia after its main rival Reach plc was reported to have pulled out of the race.

The Financial Times has cited two unnamed sources close to the negotiations as confirming the regional publisher has ended its interest in the company’s assets.

The claim comes after Reach announced yesterday it was launching seven digital-only news titles, with the creation of 46 jobs, in areas currently served by Newsquest and JPIMedia newspapers.

Earlier this month The Guardian reported Newsquest was seen as the “preferred bidder” for JPIMedia’s regional titles after tabling a higher offer than Reach.

Reach originally stated its interest in JPIMedia back in July, confirming it was in the “early stages” of discussions to buy “certain assets” of the company.

Last month it was reported to be in “exclusive talks” over a sale after tabling an offer in the region of £50m.

But any prospect of a swift deal was put on hold when Newsquest, whose US parent company Gannett has been involved in a lengthy merger with New Media Investments Group, tabled its own bid.

One person described as “close to the negotiations” told the FT that Newsquest was now the frontrunner for JPIMedia’s regional portfolio.  Its national daily the i looks set to be sold to Daily Mail owner DMGT in a separate deal.

According to a previous report in The Guardian, a completed deal could trigger a competition investigation due to Newsquest’s interests in Scotland, where its titles include The Herald, Glasgow Evening Times and The National.

JPIMedia’s stable includes The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News, but it is claimed Newsquest could run those titles as a separate business until any regulatory scrutiny was complete.

The digital expansion anounced by Reach yesterday will see new sites under the ‘Live’ brand launched in Newsquest strongholds such as Bolton, Bradford, Newport and County Durham and JPIMedia territories such as Sheffield, Sunderland and North Yorkshire.

JPIMedia, Reach and Newsquest and have all declined to comment.


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  • November 22, 2019 at 11:49 am

    With Reach withdrawing from the race and opening rival news sites on JPI territories it’s probably a case of ‘ if you can’t join them, beat them!’

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  • November 22, 2019 at 11:54 am

    I cannot understand why the competition authorities would have any concern over the situation with Newsquest’s ownership of both The Scotsman and The Herald. If there are concerns about market dominance, they are misplaced. Gone are the days when advertisers were forced to advertise in local newspapers as there were no other options. If it’s a question of dominance, they should turn their attention to facebook and Google, the two ‘publishers’ who dominate the advertising market, locally, nationally and internationally!

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  • November 22, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    God help us… Newsquest!! More of the same chasing the digital dragon and cuts.

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  • November 22, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    I said previously that the rates are now eating each other with the talent being fed to the earth. At least it will give the last rats standing the final chance to kick out staff before surveying their wasteland, cashing in and moving on to destroy something else…

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  • November 22, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Staff being pushed from the JP frying pan into the Newsquest fire.
    In the last two weeks we’ve had confirmation from Newsquest that jobs will go at the Southern Daily Echo, Bournemouth Echo and Dorset Echo and also redundancies, again, at its ‘flagship’ title the Herald in Glasgow.
    All this due to ‘further cost and efficiency savings in our budget for 2020 to minimise the impact on profitability’.
    So what to do in those circumstances? Of course, go off and throw too much borrowed money buying a rival publisher and then rack up the short-term ‘efficiency savings’ from the merger.

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  • November 22, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    like a drowning man being rescued by a shark. Ulterior motive.

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  • November 22, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    It really doesn’t matter who “wins”… the losers will be the same: the staff.

    That said, time and again Big News complains it doesn’t have the money to run proper newsrooms.

    It pleads to Government, it whinges to Google, it blasts the BBC and fights against Facebook.

    (It can still pay dividends mind and all those managers.)

    And now it has the money to buy up more papers, strip them of their assets, decimate – more than decimate – its staff.

    Dire… just dire…

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  • November 22, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    When they took over the Isle of Wight County Press they wielded the axe straight away. I bet NQ has an actual ‘axe room’ where a selected member of the board polishes the blades every day waiting for the ‘Okay – go and get JP rags’…..
    If they do get JP regionals they’ll have more or less the whole south coast from Dorset to East Sussex, adding the likes of The News in Portsmouth, Chichester Observer/Bognor Observer/Midhurst&Petworth Observer, plus the Hastings/Eastbourne stuff and West Sussex newspapers and….loads more….

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  • November 22, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Percy Hoskins
    Getting rid of the ridiculous amount of managers from the industry alone would save thousands

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  • November 25, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Em rule. Sorry to say those old JP papers along the coast and in Sussex, once so good, are now very poor quality, filling with lots of non-local news because they have no local staff. If they deteriorate further they will go out of business. But NQ have a poor track record for staff levels.

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