Associated to offload 'Buy and Sell'
ASSOCIATED Newspapers, which publishes the loss-making Irish Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, is on the verge of selling its cash cow, Buy and Sell magazine, for a reported €15m.
The news comes after a period of significant interest in the profit-making publication, which is also regarded as having on-line potential, despite recent falls in its hard copy circulation figures.
Buy and Sell carries about 50,000 free ads and has earnings of about €2.2m. Associated Newspapers has repeatedly declined to make any comment on the matter.
The cutting loose of Buy and Sell is seen by many as the first sign of Associated attempting to stem the continuing losses racked up by The Daily Mail and the Irish Mail on Sunday.
By late last year, the two titles had accumulated almost €70m in losses.
The Daily Mail recently slashed its price to 30¢ in order to boost sales, and has ambitious targets of breaking the 100,000 mark. The price has since risen to 40¢.
The Mail on Sunday, formerly Ireland on Sunday, is shifting about 130,000 copies every week.
Elsewhere, Metro International, co-publishers of Dublin's Metro freesheet, racked up losses of €11.5m in the first quarter of this year. This amounts to almost three times the €3.9m that the group lost in the first three months of 2006. The results prompted an immediate 16 per cent slump in Metro's share price.
In Ireland, Metro International has been the driving force behind Dublin's Metro freesheet, in which it has a 10 per cent stake. The remainder of the firm is owned by the Irish Times and Associated Newspapers, which have been the chief leakers in the on-going Bertiegate scandal.