Johnston Press in advanced talks to buy i newspaper
Johnston Press has confirmed it is in talks with ESI Media over the sale of the i newspaper in a potential deal estimated to be worth approximately £24m.
Edinburgh-based Johnston Press, which owns The Scotsman and more than 200 other regional newspaper titles, announced that it was in the late stages of discussions but nothing has yet been confirmed.
In a statement to The Drum a Johnston Press spokesperson said: “The Board of Johnston Press notes the recent media speculation and confirms that it is in late stage discussions with Independent Print Limited (IPL) for the potential acquisition of the business and certain assets of the i.
"There can be no certainty that the discussions between the company and IPL will lead to any definitive agreement concerning the possible acquisition or as to the final terms of any such agreement. Completion of the acquisition would be subject to the approval of shareholders of the company.”
ESI Media’s chief executive, Steve Auckland, told The Drum that “no decision has been made and we realise the uncertainty that this news will cause our employees and customers.”
He continued: “Johnston Press are bound by strict PLC guidelines so unfortunately we can make no further comment at this time.
He added: “ESI Media remains committed to our brands, building on our fast growing global footprint, whilst cementing our place as the most important destination for audiences in the capital.”
Last month Johnston Press announced plans to sell a number of its underperforming titles and this week reports have emerged that it is attempting to sell-off The Scotsman for approximately £10m.
If the deal to acquire the i goes ahead it would create the UK's fourth-largest print publisher with a circulation of more than 600,000 paid-for copies a day.