Johnston Press, the publisher of more than 30 regional newspaper titles in Ireland, has confirmed it is in talks to sell its 14 titles in Ireland, which include the Limerick Leader, the Donegal Democrat and the Kilkenny People.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the company said it was holding discussions about the sale of the newspapers for €8.5 million in cash.
“There can be no certainty that agreement will be reached on a sale,” it said and adding that “a further announcement will be made as appropriate”.
The statement did not name the possible buyer, however there is speculation that it is Mediaforce, an advertising agency that has close links with the regional press in Britain and Ireland.
Mediaforce is owned by British millionaire Malcolm Denmark.
Other titles owned by Johnston Press are The Leinster Leader, The Leinster Express, the Tipperary Star, the Leitrim Observer, the Longford Leader, The Nationalist & Munster Advertiser, South Tipp Today and the Donegal People’s Press.
The most recent accounts for Johnston Press show that its pretax profit fell 44% from €1.7 million to €941,000 last year. The company recently announced an enhanced group-wide voluntary redundancy scheme, having already laid off almost a quarter of its workforce between 2011 and 2012.
The cuts have also affected the Irish operation in recent years, with a number of senior posts merged and a decision taken to close the Offaly Express.
Source: Irish Times
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