WHEN DMGT sold the loss-making Evening Standard to Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev in January 2009, finance director Peter Williams caused a storm by saying the firm’s love affair with newspapers was all but over. It had “crossed the Rubicon,” he declared (although chairman Lord Rothermere soon made it clear that Williams had crossed the line). DMGT abandoned plans to sell regional arm Northcliffe in 2007, so it has none of the emotional attachment that made offloading the Standard so painful; that sale was shelved after it couldn’t find a buyer willing to stump up £1.3bn. The division is likely worth less now: the outlook for regional ad sales is bleak, while pension problems remain. But Northcliffe, which accounts for just five per cent of profits, is a distraction and relaxed merger rules mean Trinity Mirror or Johnston could be interested. It’s time to sell.