TRINITY Mirror yesterday confirmed it is in talks with local newspaper publishers Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) and Yattendon Group to consolidate the sector.
The publisher of the Daily Mirror, Daily Record and Sunday Mail is in discussions to take a minority stake in a new entity, which would consist of DMGT’s Northcliffe Media division and privately-owned Yattendon’s Iliffe News & Media.
Former News of the World boss David Montgomery is being lined up to run the proposed joint venture, with his Local World vehicle also taking a stake in the combined group, according to sources.
Montgomery led restructuring at Mirror Group before its merger with Trinity and at European newspaper group Mecom.
Talk of consolidation gave shares across the sector a boost, with Trinity Mirror up 7.8 per cent or 4p at 55.25p and Johnston Press, the owner of The Scotsman and nearly 250 local newspapers, 12.7 per cent or 1.25p higher at 11.12p. DMGT dipped in late trading to close down 0.75p at 472p.
Analysts have long suggested that the UK’s local newspaper market is ripe for consolidation.
Investec analyst Steve Liechti said: “Further possible regional consolidation by Local World may be planned, but this would be regulator dependent.
“The latter has been an issue historically, but our sense is that conditions are so poor in local, some leeway must be applied for further consolidation. The alternative is closure anyway.”
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