O’Reilly Declines Bidding Battle with Gannett Over SMG Titles

11 December 2002

Sir Anthony O’Reilly [Tony O’Reilly in his international rugby heyday] is not expected to remain at the poker table with America’s largest newspaper publisher Gannett.

O’Reilly’s Independent News & Media (with Providence Equity Partners) and Gannett are the sole remaining players for the prize of Scottish Media Group’s publishing assets, among which is Scotland’s leading daily, the Glasgow Herald.

Cash-rich Gannett, publisher of USA Today and over 300 US newspapers, including fifteen dailies, is also the UK’s second largest regional newspaper publisher.

Word is that Big G has upped its offer from £210 million ($330.30m; €327.26m) to £215m while O’Reilly has zipped his wallet. Said an insider in the Independent camp: “They just will not overpay.”

Breaking News …
(07.17GMT) UK competition minister Melanie Johnson revealed last night that Gannett's UK unit Newsquest has formally requested clearance by the Competition Commission to buy the Glasgow-based publications. The watchdog will report its verdict on the proposed deal by March 10.

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff