Iliffe News & Media, owner of the Cambridge News and Hertfordshire Mercury, and Northcliffe Media, the regionals arm of Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), are in advanced talks to pool their assets into a new vehicle spearheaded by David Montgomery, the former editor of the News Of The World
The deal will create a business with more than £250m of annual revenue and could spark a bidding war in the regional newspaper industry involving Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press, two of the three largest players
The Sunday Times Business section (£)has a different take on the Northcliffe ( Mail) role which fits with the company’s earlier unsuccessful efforts to sell their regionals.
THE Daily Mail’s owner is in talks to offload its ailing regional newspapers to David Montgomery, the former Mirror boss.
The proposed deal would value the titles, including the Western Morning News, Derby Telegraph and Gloucestershire Echo, at £110m.
Six years ago, Lord Rothermere, chairman of the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), turned down an offer to sell the division for a reported £1.2 billion.
Montgomery, a former editor of the News of the World who became chief executive of Mirror Group, now Trinity Mirror, is thought to have lined up private equity backing to finance the deal.
DMGT, the quoted company that owns the Daily Mail and the Northcliffe Media regional newspaper group, will receive some money upfront but will also have a substantial stake in the new venture.
Montgomery, 63, is expected to use the Northcliffe deal as a springboard to assemble a stable of local titles. His likely targets include Johnston Press and parts of Trinity Mirror.
He has already sounded out other businesses to garner
support for his scheme, an industry source told The Sunday Times.
Montgomery is not the only investor hoping to start a wave of consolidation across the struggling regional news industry. DMGT has been holding talks with other interested parties, according to another source.
Johnson Press own the News Letter and Trinity Mirror were previous owners of the Bel Tel. Montgomery has a well established interest in his old backyard. He sold his interest in Local Press the group that included the News Letter and Derry Journal in 2005 and founded a German-centred investment company.
Might he buy the local papers back again if his merger plans succeed?
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London