Johnston Press to sell 13 titles for £17m

Johnston Press CEO Ashley Highfield

Johnston Press — owner of The Scotsman, the i newspaper and the Yorkshire Post — announced the proposed disposal of 13 titles and associated websites in East Anglia and East Midlands to Cambridge-based Iliffe Media for about £17 million.

“Trading conditions continue to be challenging, with year-on-year advertising revenues (excluding the i newspaper) in November and December (month to date) declining broadly in line with those in the 17 weeks to 29 October 2016,” said Johnston Press.

The 13 titles and websites being sold are the Bury Free Press, the Local (Bourne), Diss Express, Fenland Citizen, Lincolnshire Free Press, Grantham Journal, Haverhill Echo, Lynn News, Newmarket Journal, Rutland Times, Suffolk Free Press, Spalding Guardian and Stamford Mercury.

The disposal is conditional on shareholder approval.

Johnston Press CEO Ashley Highfield said: “This disposal marks a major milestone in our divestment strategy and puts us firmly on the path of refocusing our activities on areas with the greatest growth potential.

“The disposal will also reduce our net debt whilst putting us on a stronger footing.”

Johnston Press said that for the 26 weeks to July 2, 2016, revenues attributable to the businesses being sold were £5.5 million out of total revenues for the group of £114.2 million.