Trinity Mirror in local paper talks


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The Independent Online

Trinity Mirror disclosed today that it is working with the owner of the Daily Mail on plans for the creation of a new local newspaper company.

The publisher of the Daily Mirror is considering a minority interest in the proposed venture, which will comprise the regional paper assets of Daily Mail & General Trust and Iliffe News & Media, which owns the Cambridge News.

Trinity Mirror confirmed it is involved in discussions but said no offer has been made. According to today's Daily Telegraph, the three newspaper groups will have 75% of the new business, which will be called Local World.

Unlike DMGT and Iliffe's owner Yattendon Group, Trinity Mirror is not expected to wrap its regional newspapers into the new business at this stage.

The consortium is reportedly fronted by former Mirror Group chief executive David Montgomery and backed by private equity firms including Odey Asset Management.

DMGT confirmed yesterday that it was in talks regarding the future of regional newspaper arm Northcliffe Media.

The division includes the Leicester Mercury, Bristol Post and Derby Telegraph, as well as 26 local news, information and classified websites under the "thisis" banner.

The proposed deal is expected to value Northcliffe at little more than a 10th of the £1.2 billion offer reportedly rejected by DMGT in 2005. Conditions in the industry have deteriorated sharply since then, with Northcliffe's operating profits falling 37% to £17 million in the year to November 2011.

Iliffe News & Media, which is part of family-owned Yattendon Group, has a portfolio of three daily newspapers, 25 weekly newspapers and two Sunday newspapers.

Trinity Mirror has more than 130 regional daily and weekly newspapers, with key titles including the Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News and Western Mail.

The company said today: "Trinity Mirror can confirm it is in discussions towards taking a minority interest in a new company comprising the assets of Northcliffe Media, a division of DMGT and Iliffe News & Media, a division of Yattendon Group.

"No offer has been made and there is nothing further to report at this stage."