Johnston Press sells 14 Irish titles to Iconic Newspapers
THE JOHNSTON Press group has sold its 14 Irish regional newspaper titles to Iconic Newspapers Ltd, a company run by British advertising executive Malcolm Denmark.
The titles were sold for approximately €8.5m, however Mr Denmark would not disclose the figure.
Johnston paid in the region of €300m for all of its Irish titles before the recession hit.
The sell-off is part of the strategy being pursued by Johnston's chief executive, Ashley Highfield, as he seeks to ease the burden of the company's debt.
Johnston's newspapers in Northern Ireland, such as the Derry Journal and the Ballymena Times, are not included in the sale.
The deal went through yesterday and was confirmed by Iconic Newspapers owner Malcolm Denmark while he was attending at the Limerick Person of the Year Awards as a guest of the 'Limerick Leader' newspaper.
'The Limerick Chronicle', the oldest newspaper in the country, has been bought as part of the sale along with the 'Limerick Leader', its sister publication.
"I feel lucky and privileged to have bought the 'Limerick Leader'. It has come back into private hands. 'The Limerick Chronicle' is the oldest paper in Ireland and I think it is a title that is very important to what we want to do," Mr Denmark said.
"We want to get more involved in and re-engage with the communities where more investment is needed"" he added. "It's really important that we are not part of a corporate group. I am not trying to bring an English solution to Ireland."
The UK businessman who owns 14 firms in total added: "I own Media Force too but this is not part of that. This is Iconic Newspapers and we believe we have bought iconic brands."
Other well-known titles acquired as part of the takeover include the 'Donegal Democrat, 'Kilkenny People', and 'Leinster Leader'.