Daily Mail sells regional newspapers to Local World
The Daily Mail group of newspapers has sold its regional newspaper arm, Northcliffe Media, to Local World.
Local World is a newly-formed company led by a former chief executive of the Mirror Group, David Montgomery.
The new group becomes the fourth-largest regional newspaper publisher in the UK as a result of a simultaneous deal to buy the Iliffe newspaper group.
Local World says the two deals will give it control of 107 newspapers and 60 news websites.
The possibility that these deals might take place first emerged last month.
It's been a dreadful few years for the regional newspaper business. Though less glamorous than other parts of the media, it used to make a healthy living from all those pages of classified ads - for jobs, houses and cars.
In 2006, the Daily Mail & General Trust actually turned down a £1bn offer for Northcliffe Media - but that was before the full impact of the internet and the credit crunch hit home, slashing readership and advertising income.
Years later, DMGT has finally sold its regional titles for £53m and a 39% stake in Local World. This is an ambitious new venture to try to revive the ailing sector, with a strong team at the top.
It's led by David Montgomery, the former head of Mirror Group Newspapers, and Steve Auckland, who ran the successful Metro free newspaper business before becoming chief executive of Northcliffe.
But it is still only the fourth-biggest company in the sector, so it will have to grow a good deal before it can make a real impact.
The chairman of Local World will be David Montgomery and its chief executive will be Steve Auckland, currently the chief executive of Northcliffe media.
Mr Auckland said the aim of the new group would be to reinvigorate the declining local and regional newspaper industry in the UK, which has been suffering from a collapse in readers and advertising revenue in the past decade.
"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."
Local World said the businesses it is buying have six million newspaper readers and seven million website users, spread over 16 daily papers, 36 paid-for weekly papers and 46 weekly free sheets.
The Daily Mail group is being paid £53m in cash, some of which will be used to make contributions to its pension scheme, and it is also receiving a 39% stake in Local World.
Other big shareholders in Local World will be the Yattendon group - the current owner of Iliffe - and Trinity Mirror.