Local World plots deals to merge paper groups

LOCAL World, the recently created local media group, is anticipating acquisitions that would bring other newspaper owners into the fold.

The firm, set up by former Mirror Group boss David Montgomery, has brought together 106 titles previously owned by Daily Mail & General Trust and Iliffe News and Media.

Montgomery, along with Local World chief executive Steve Auckland now has an ambitious plan to revitalise a flagging local newspaper industry based on turning websites into local portals, and believes that once this revamp takes off, other groups, for example Archant and Johnston Press, could come on board.

“The sector needs consolidation, it’s too fragmented and I think there’ll be other acquisitions in time,” Auckland told City A.M..

“We’ve got to get the operations working and the next part will be acquisitions,” he said, adding that deals could be in cash or equity and that Local World is not in talks with any potential targets.

The 130-plus regional titles owned by Trinity Mirror, the owner of the Daily Mirror, could also be a target. Trinity Mirror owns a 20 per cent stake in Local World although its papers are not part of the group.