Grimsby Telegraph owner Northcliffe Media sold to create new media business Local World
THE owner of the Grimsby Telegraph and thisisgrimsby.co.uk is to be sold, along with 76 other newspapers and dozens of websites to create one of the UK’s leading regional publishing businesses.
Daily Mail and General Trust has reached agreement to sell Northcliffe Media to Local World, a newly-formed media group that will combine the Northcliffe titles with those of Iliffe News & Media Ltd.
The aim is to create a strong media business dedicated to the provision of first-class local content and advertising sales solutions.
DMGT will receive £52.5-million and a 38.7 per cent shareholding in Local World. The Iliffe family, owners of Yattendon Group, will hold 21.3 per cent. Trinity Mirror will also take a 20 per cent slice, with remaining shares purchased by other investors.
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Local World will become one of the UK’s leading regional newspaper publishers, online content providers and local advertising platforms, with more than 107 print titles and 60 websites. DMGT will contribute more than 80 titles to the new venture, including the Hull Daily Mail, Scunthorpe Telegraph and Lincolnshire Echo, with another 36 coming from Iliffe News & Media, including the Cambridge News.
It will mean a combined weekly newspaper audience of six million readers and seven million online users.
Steve Auckland, currently chief executive of Northcliffe, will become chief executive of Local World. The company will be chaired by David Montgomery, one of the most experienced media executives in the UK.
Announcing the new venture, Mr Montgomery, former chief executive of Mirror Group, said: “This is an entirely new type of media business. The value of Local World will lie in its people, its franchises and its intellectual property. It will be unencumbered by the infrastructure of the industrial past such as property, printing presses and large scale distribution or any legacy issues such as high levels of debt. Local World signals the fight back in Britain’s regional media industry.”
The management team said the new business aims to build on leading regional titles, with strong audience loyalty in local communities, and expand Local World’s digital presence with the investment of £10-million.
Mr Auckland said: “Local World will be a comprehensive local content provider, offering the best and most trusted source of news, views and advertising in print, online and mobile, to its local audiences in the UK. The new company will be well-resourced, entrepreneurial, and able to respond quickly to the differing requirements of local communities.”
Martin Morgan, chief executive of DMGT, said: “This is good news for DMGT, for all who work at Northcliffe and for the future of local news media. Local World has talented people and a clear vision for the future of local media. I think the media industry has been waiting for this logical next step for regional newspapers.”