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UK Newspaper Group Explores its Options

News, 06 February 2006

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; additional content by WARC staff