Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Daily Sport owner in administration

Sport Media Group, owner of the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport newspapers, has ceased trading

The owner of the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport newspapers has said that it is to enter administration after failing to pay off its debts.

Sport Media Group (SMG), which in 2009 was saved from going out of business by former owner David Sullivan, said it had ceased trading with immediate effect.

The announcement came after the group warned it had experienced "an insufficient recovery" in trading since the adverse weather in December last year.

Daily Sport, which specialises in celebrity news and soft porn stories and images, was launched in 1991 by Mr Sullivan, following on from Sunday Sport, which was first published in 1986.

SMG had not published its annual report for 2010, but its 2009 report stated it had 131 staff.

Daily Sport circulation peaked in 2005 at 189,473, the Saturday edition at 110,785 and the Sunday Sport at 167,473.

SMG withdrew its titles from the official newspaper industry monthly circulation audit after sales plunged and left each title at around a third of peak levels. The group agreed new debt facilities last July but asked Royal Bank of Scotland in September to defer the monthly loan repayment of £50,000 for six months.

Trading of its shares was suspended earlier on Friday at 0.925p - valuing the company at just £925,000.

The company then confirmed it had ceased trading - meaning its papers will not appear on news-stands - and it is set to appoint an administrator.

The chosen firm will seek to sell or close the operation. If shut down, it will be the first national newspaper to fold since Today in November 1995.

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