The Scotsman publisher Johnston Press up for sale

  • 11 October 2018

Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday

The publisher of The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday newspapers has put itself up for sale.

Johnston Press has 13 daily, 154 weekly paid-for and 37 weekly free newspapers including about 25 titles in Scotland.

The publisher’s move follows a strategic review. The company has £220m of borrowing due for repayment in June next year.

A decline in traditional and digital advertising revenues has seen the value of its titles fall.

Johnston Press saw revenue fall by 10% in the first half of 2018, although it reported a pre-tax profit of £6.2m.

It also publishes the Yorkshire Post and the i newspaper.

In August, the firm cited changes to Google’s online search algorithm and Facebook’s news feed among reasons for a decline in digital advertising.

Revenues down

It said overall revenue slid to £93m ($ 118.6m) in the six months to July, from £103.3m a year before.

The Scotsman, which is based in Edinburgh, celebrated its bicentenary last year.

Other Scottish titles in the group include the Edinburgh Evening News, the Falkirk Herald, The Buteman, Brechin Advertiser, Stornoway Gazette, Fife Herald, Lanark Gazette and Hawick News.

The i newspaper, which was bought in 2016, has been a good news story for the company, after the title increased its circulation revenues by 17% and advertising sales by 20%.

The company is not in discussions with any potential buyers and has not had any approaches yet.

Johnston Press acquired The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News, Scotland on Sunday and other titles from the Barclay brothers in 2005 in a deal worth £160m.

BBC News – Scotland

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