Trinity Mirror buys Guardian's regional newspapers

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The Independent Online

Trinity Mirror has agreed to buy Guardian Media Group's local titles including the Manchester Evening News for £44.8 million in cash and other considerations, extending its regional reach.

Guardian Media Group, which is owned by a trust charged with protecting its flagship Guardian daily newspaper, said the deal would help secure the future of its national titles.

The chief executive of Trinity Mirror, Britain's biggest regional newspaper publisher, said on Tuesday buying the 32 newspapers and about 44 Web sites would help build scale in its digital business.

"This acquisition, which includes the Manchester Evening News with its proud and rich journalistic heritage, together with the weekly titles and associated Web sites, extends our reach across print and online," Sly Bailey said in a statement.

Guardian Media Group, which publishes national daily The Guardian and Sunday national The Observer, has faced increasing losses as newsprint advertising has slumped and circulations have fallen.

Its chief executive Carolyn McCall said the group had decided to sell the regional papers in order to secure the future of the Guardian newspaper.

"GMG Regional Media is a good business and a publisher of important newspapers," she said. "However, we believe Trinity Mirror, as the UK's biggest regional publisher, is best placed to develop this business."

The newspapers, which made an operating profit of nil in the 12 months to December 2009, had gross assets of 8.7 million pounds