UK Publishers Consider Joint Bid for Regional News Group

13 December 2005

The £1.5 billion ($2.63bn; €2.22bn) auction of UK regional newspaper group Northcliffe is bringing together competitors -including US names - who could make a joint bid.

The Daily Mail & General Trust is selling its 100-plus local titles as it aims to focus on its online assets. In common with the US, regional publications are slumping as traditional print advertisers migrate to the internet. Last week DMTG agreed to pay £48 million for real estate website

Northcliffe is being sold rather than suffer the stinging cuts it would need to improve operating performance.

The Sunday Times newspaper reports that among the groups interested in the titles are the US's biggest newspaper publisher and number two in the UK, Gannett, Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press and Archant.

If they were to succeed with a co-operative offer it is most likely the titles would be carved up among the potential buyers. However, it is still possible that one of the larger companies might make a solo bid.

Private equity companies such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Cinven are also hovering to signal initial interest by the end of the year.

Data sourced from Sunday Times; additional content by WARC staff