Disposals by media group

Johnston Press sells 13 ‘sub core’ newspapers

ashley-highfieldJohnston Press has sold 13 local newspapers in East Anglia and the East Midlands for £17 million to Iliffe Media.

The cash deal for Johnston Publishing is in line with the London-based company’s planned disposal of “sub-core” assets.

There continues to be speculation that the owner of the The Scotsman, Falkirk Herald and the i paper will offload some of its Scottish titles. Scotland on Sunday was among those classed as sub-core in a review of the group.

Johnston Press said the group’s stated strategy is to focus its business on core titles in selected geographic markets with a view to reducing net debt.

It expects net cash proceeds of £16m from this latest deal which represents a 5.3x multiple of operating profit of £3.2m before exceptional expenses for the 52 weeks ended 2 January 2016

Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston Press, 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.

“I would like to thank the staff based at these titles for their hard work and loyalty over the years and we wish them well for a successful future.”

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