Regional publisher Newsquest in exclusive takeover talks with rival Archant
The publisher of newspapers The Herald and Northern Echo has entered exclusive takeover talks with its rival Archant as it looks to begin a consolidation of the UK’s regional news market.
Newsquest, which is owned by US-based publisher Gannett and publishes over 120 local news brands including 22 daily titles, has fought off potential competing bids to secure a period of exclusivity where it can secure a deal, Sky News’s Mark Kleinman first reported.
Archant began talks with potential suitors several weeks ago and had interest from Reach, publisher of the Daily Mirror and Daily Express, and National World which owns local news publisher JPI Media.
The firm has been put up for sale by specialist turnaround investor Rcapital, which acquired the business in 2020 and undertook a period of overhaul and restructuring in which much of the management team has been replaced.
The Pension Protection Fund was forced to swoop in and support Archant with a 10 per cent stake in the business in order to protect savers’ money in the event of insolvency.
The current value of the deal with Newsquest is not known but Archant is understood to be carrying around £8m in debt, Sky reported.
A merger with Archant would allow Newsquest to fill a geographical gap due to its location in East Anglia and would speed up consolidation in the UK’s regional news industry.
The industry has gone through period of major transition as publishers adapt daily print newspaper models for digital platforms.
It was unclear on Monday when Rcapital and Newsquest might reach a formal agreement on a deal.