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Monday 19 August 2019

Mirror and Express newspaper owner eyes up bid for The i

Reach confirmed it is in early talks for ‘certain assets’ of JPI Media’s portfolio but talks remain at an early stage.

(Jonathan Brady/PA)
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

By Simon Neville, PA City Editor

The owner of the Mirror, Express and Star national newspaper titles is in talks to buy parts of rival JPI Media, which owns The i and several regional titles.

Reach – formerly known as Trinity Mirror – confirmed it is looking at “certain JPI Media assets” but cautioned “there can be no certainty at this stage” that a deal will be agreed.

JPI put itself up for sale earlier this year after falling into administration in 2018.

The group owns several titles across the country including the Yorkshire Post, Scotsman, Manchester Evening News and Daily Record.

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Simon Fox (Nicholas Bowman/PA)

Reach said: “The board… confirms that it is in the early stages of discussions in relation to acquiring certain of JPI Media’s assets.

“As has been previously stated by the company, regular consideration is given to merger and acquisition opportunities which would accelerate its strategy. There can be no certainty at this stage that these discussions will lead to an agreed transaction.”

Chief executive Simon Fox has made several acquisitions in recent years, most notably buying the Express and Star group and OK! magazine from publishing tycoon Richard Desmond.

It is not known which newspapers Reach is keen on buying, but the jewel in the crown of JPI’s portfolio is The i, which it bought from ESI media in 2016 for £24 million.

JPI, formerly known as Johnston Press, went bust last year, but was bought back in a pre-pack administration by its lenders after writing off £135 million of debt. It led to an overhaul of the company’s property portfolio and redundancy programme.

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