NORTHCLIFFE Media, the regional newspaper publisher owned by Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), is close to being bought by a joint venture between ex-Trinity Mirror head David Montgomery and private media group Yattendon.
DMGT yesterday confirmed that talks had begun on the deal, which is being supported by prominent asset manager Crispin Odey and looks set to be worth around £100m.
A deal would merge Yattendon’s local newspaper business Iliffe News & Media with Northcliffe to create a new company boasting 114 titles.
Northcliffe has seen continually declining revenues in recent years while DMGT’s national papers hold up and its business-to-business publishing operations continue to grow.
Montgomery, who set up European newspaper publisher Mecom in 2000 after he quit as chief executive of Trinity Mirror, and also served as News of the World editor in the 1980s, is set to take a small stake in the new company, which would be known as Local World.
Veteran fund manager Odey, along with HSBC, Bank of Ireland and Lloyds, is backing the deal.
Northcliffe was valued at more than £1bn around five years ago, but has seen advertising sales plummet in recent years and has closed a number of titles. However, it still has revenues of around £200m, and owns 84 papers including the Leicester Mercury and Hull Daily Mail.
DMGT, which is expected to retain a slice of Northcliffe, said: “No deal or transaction has been agreed.”