Posting full-year results, British regional newspaper group Johnston Press announced the unexpected purchase of rival Regional Independent Media, whose stable includes the respected Yorkshire Post, for £560 million ($792m; €907m).

The move came as a surprise to industry observers, as RIM – publisher of various titles in southeast Scotland and northern England – announced just last month that it intended to float on the London Stock Exchange in 2003.

Edinburgh-headquartered Johnston declared that the acquisition, to be funded by a £220m rights issue, will bolster its position in Britain’s regional newspaper sector. “This is a transforming acquisition for Johnston Press at a fair price,” said chairman Roger Parry.

As for its 2001 results, Johnston reported pre-tax profits of £68.5m.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff