News Letter and Derry Journal owners Johnston Press put up for sale

Johnston Press, which owns The News Letter has put itself up for sale
Gareth McKeown

THE newspaper group which owns The News Letter and Derry Journal has put itself up for sale.

Johnston Press, which also publishes The 'i', The Scotsman and a host of local titles, put itself on the market after a failure to secure a debt re-financing deal.

The business has £220m of borrowing due for repayment in June.

The company is seeking offers for a takeover, but said it is not currently in discussions with any potential buyers.

Speculation that the media group would be sold has been growing since it announced a strategic review in March 2017 to tackle its long-standing debt issues.

Bidders for the business could include activist shareholder Custos Group, which already owns more than 20 per cent of Johnston Press.

Custos Group, which is headed by Norwegian entrepreneur Christen Ager-Hanssen, reportedly said in August that it would be a prospective bidder for the business if it went into administration.

The News Letter has been owned by Johnston Press since 2005 and is the oldest English language general daily newspaper still in publication, having first been printed in 1737.

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