The UK's biggest newspaper publisher, Trinity Mirror, has furrowed the brow of US investor Tweedy Browne.
The group, whose stable includes red-top tabloids The Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People plus around 240 regional titles, says advertising dropped 11.8 in the first four months of 2006 over the same period last year and fell 15.7% at the national titles.
The company says the advertising market is likely to remain "challenging".
The figures have drawn a sharp response from Tweedy Browne fund manager Tom Schrager who commented: "They should manage the national titles better."
The US investor, which recently increased its stake in TM to 5.06%, has long been of the opinion that it should sell off its national titles [WAMN: 27-Jan-06], a move fiercely opposed by outgoing chairman Sir Victor Blank. He is to be succeeded by automaking industry veteran Sir Ian Gibson.
A number of TM shareholders are thought to have increased holdings in anticipation of a possible sale of the national titles. Another US fund manager, Harris Associates, has steadily been increasing its stake to more than 11%.
Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff