Monday 9 February 2009

Speculation over Johnston Press sale of Scotsman or Yorkshire Post revived

Fresh speculation that Johnston Press may be prepared to sell off flagship titles like The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post have been revived following a report in The Sunday Times.
The story in the ST said: "Johnston Press could sell some of its flagship newspaper titles after it appointed debt restructuring experts at KPMG to help it tackle its £465m of borrowings.
The owner of The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post has already brought in Dublin-based corporate financier Raglan Capital to listen to offers for its Irish newspapers including the Leinster Leader and Kilkenny People.
"John Fry, who arrived as chief executive last month, is prepared to consider a range of options to strengthen the company’s balance sheet."
The Sunday Times has predicted for some time that asset sales are likely for debt-burdened Johnston Press, and claimed in an interview with the newspaper group's outgoing chief executive Tim Bowdler that he had bitten off too much in 2005 when Johnston spent £475 million to expand into Scotland and Ireland, buying The Scotsman and Belfast News Letter. In the past Johnston Press has always denied stories that The Scotsman or the Yorkshire Post are up for sale.

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