Reach emerges as frontrunner to buy financially distressed British media group
Reach Pic, one of Britain’s biggest newspaper groups, has emerged as the frontrunner to buy JPI Media’s regional newspapers, reports the Financial Times.
Reach Pic, formerly known as Trinity Mirror between 1999 and 2018, owns the Daily Mirror and Daily Express as well as regional brands including the Manchester Evening News.
JPI Media is a multi-media company founded in 2018 specifically to take over the assets of Johnston Press following the sale of the company to its creditor.
Its flagship titles include UK-national newspaper the i, The Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post, the Falkirk Herald, and Belfast‘s The News Letter. The company operates around 170 newspapers and associated websites around the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man.
Under the terms of the deal inked in November, 2019, ownership passed to a consortium of four lenders – CarVal, Fidelity, Benefit Street Partners and Goldentree Asset Management – operating under the umbrella of JPI Media.
In July, it was confirmed that a sale process of JPI Media was taking place. Snce then, the British press has been rife with speculation over who would buy the assets.
Everyone from the European media group Mediahuis to the owner of The Daily Mail has been touted as a potential buyer. Up to eight companies were said to be in the race, with Reach Pic now emerging as a frontrunner.
In June, JPI announced it was closng 10 newspapers, including paid-for weeklies and various free titles, because they were no longer viable. This followed closely on the heels of the closing of three other of its publications.
Like other traditional media companies around the world, a once-mighty British giant has been brought to its knees by declining ad revenues, the desertion of readers who have switched to the internet as a source of news and the rise of social media outlets like Facebook.