UK newspaper publisher Guardian Media Group is looking into the future with the help of investment banker Merrill Lynch.

The owner of the quality, left-leaning, daily The Guardian and its Sunday stablemate The Observer, is taking advice to "focus on potential opportunities for future development".

Those opportunities could include the £1.5 billion ($2.66b; €2.2bn) disposal of GMG's business publications division and its small radio station arm.

The Trader Media Division, which owns 70 titles, saw a 50% rise in sales last year to £305 million, while operating profits before exceptionals rose from £74m to £117m.

GMG's newspapers, however, are struggling. The company recently revamped both titles from broadsheet to Berliner format [WAMN: 06-Jan-06] at a cost of £100m, deepening losses from £6.2m in 2004 to £48.3m last year.

The relaunch brought an initial rise in circulation to The Guardian, but it has subsequently failed to consolidate the increase.

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