Guardian owner sells regionals to Trinity

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The loss-making parent company of The Guardian has sold its regional titles to Trinity Mirror to help secure the future of its flagship newspaper, in a move that severs its historic links with Manchester.

Guardian Media Group (GMG), which lost £89.8m last year, yesterday announced it was to sell GMG Regional Media for £44.8m. Trinity will pay £7.8m in cash and release GMG from a £37m print contract. GMG's regional business is split between MEN Media, with 22 titles in the North-west including its flagship Manchester Evening News, and S&B Media, with 10 titles in the South. The Guardian, which is protected by the Scott Trust, was launched as The Manchester Guardian in 1821. It was renamed as The Guardian in 1959.

GMG's chief executive, Carolyn McCall, said the Manchester Evening News and its sister titles had made a "huge contribution to the fortunes of the group for the best part of a century" but GMG's duty was to "secure the future of The Guardian in perpetuity". Mark Dodson, head of GMG Regional Media, is to leave following the deal, as is Ruth Spratt, the managing director of MEN Media. GMG is currently on a cost-cutting drive, including closing supplements in The Observer and cutting staff numbers.