Belfast Telegraph

News Letter owner is up for sale

By Alys Key

News Letter owner Johnston Press has put itself up for sale after months of speculation around the future of the company.

The group - which has a stable of around a dozen local newspapers in Northern Ireland including the Mid Ulster Mail, Ulster Star and Portadown Times - said it is seeking offers for a takeover.

In Great Britain, the company also owns The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post, in addition to the 'i' newspaper.

The decision comes as a result of a strategic review, which Johnston launched last year to assess options for refinancing £220m of bonds due for repayment next year.

Speculation that the publisher would be sold has been growing since it announced the review in March 2017.

In August, the company's share price spiked, surging by as much as 70% in afternoon trading amid rumours that a mystery buyer was quietly snapping up more stock.

Bidders for the business could include activist shareholder Custos Group, which already owns more than 20% of Johnston Press.

Custos Group reportedly said it would be a prospective bidder for the business if it went into administration.

Johnston Press has stated that it is not currently in discussions with any potential buyers of the company.

Belfast Telegraph