Monday 12 November 2018 9:52 am

Johnston Press shares rocket following reports the Daily Mail might buy the i newspaper

Shares in struggling newspaper publisher Johnston Press soared by more than 20 per cent this morning following reports that the Daily Mail’s parent company was preparing to snap up its national flagship the i newspaper.

Johnston Press, which owns The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post as well as smaller regional titles across the UK, put itself up for sale last month, citing a £220m debt which must be paid off by June next year and has hired restructuring experts Alix Partners to handle a potential insolvency.

Johnston bought the i newspaper title from ESI Media, the publisher of the Evening Standard and Independent titles, in 2016 for £24m.

The Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), which shares an office building with the newspaper, is in the early stages of planning a bid for the paper, Sky News reported over the weekend.

A spokesman for Johnston Press said: “The formal sale process is still ongoing. Nothing has changed since we announced that process to the Stock Exchange on October 11.”

In a note to investors last month the company said: “In order to assess all strategic options to maximise value to its stakeholders, the board of Johnston Press announces today that it has decided to seek offers for the company.

“There can be no certainty that any offer will be made for Johnston Press, nor that any transaction will be executed, nor as to terms of any such offer or transaction.”