'The Sportsman' in administration

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The Independent Online

The Sportsman , the sports betting and gambling daily newspaper, has been put into administration just four months after it was launched. In recent weeks, the paper was selling only about half of its target 40,000-a-day circulation.

However, the title will continue to be produced for the next few weeks while the administrators, the accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, tries to find a buyer. The 109 employees will be retained for now.

Peter Kubik, the joint administrator at Hacker Young, said he was "confident" a buyer could be found. "Conversations have already been going on in the background," he said.

Now that it is in administration, The Sportsman can be bought free of its liabilities. The business has eaten through most of the £11.5m put up by investors, principally Ben and Zac Goldsmith, the broker Andy Stewart, who co-founded Collins Stewart, and Michael Spencer, the chief executive of Icap. It is thought that they had been asked to put in another £4m but refused.

The first national newspaper launch in 20 years, The Sportsman had hoped to ride the wave of interest in all forms of gambling. But it was competing with an established title, the Racing Post, part of the Trinity Mirror group.

In May, The Sportsman's founder Max Aitken and the marketing director Mark Dixon quit.

The business is chaired by Jeremy Deedes, the former chief executive of the Telegraph Group. Before The Sportsman's launch in March, Mr Deedes had said: "This is not a sports paper. This is a betting newspaper, which will provide all the statistics and information needed to bet on racing, golf or whatever. For people who bet, this will be their bible."

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