Johnston Press in Republic of Ireland titles sale talks

Newspaper printing press The possible sale of its Irish titles follows a major restructuring move by Johnston Press

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Newspaper group Johnston Press has confirmed it is in advanced talks over the sale of its 14 regional titles in the Republic of Ireland.

The Edinburgh-based group confirmed the move in a stock exchange statement, following press reports at the weekend.

Johnston, which owns nearly 300 titles, including The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, did not name the potential buyers.

It added that a further announcement would be made "as appropriate".

The statement read: "Johnston Press notes recent press speculation and confirms that discussions are at an advanced stage in relation to the possible sale of its 14 regional newspapers in the Republic of Ireland which include the Leinster Leader, the Donegal Democrat, the Limerick Leader and the Kilkenny People for an aggregate consideration of 8.5 million euros in cash.

"There can be no certainty that agreement will be reached on a sale; a further announcement will be made as appropriate."

Last month, Johnston reported it had made costs savings of £30m over the past year.

Reporting results for the 18 weeks to 2 November, the company said operating profit for the period increased by 7.8%.

Revenues, however, fell by 6.8% and advertising revenue was also down by 6.5%.

Johnston began a major restructuring last year.

A re-launch of 196 websites was completed in September and the group said it was confident its investment would start to "deliver results".

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