The former owner of the Daily Sport, David Sullivan, has rejoined the newspaper in the role of ‘honorary publisher’ to help boost its circulation and profitability.
The group confirmed today that the Sport titles had been loss-making since the end of last November and warned of a “further reduction in staffing levels” .
Sullivan sold his stake in Sport Newspapers to Interactive World in 2007. The company was renamed Sport Media Group.
The company said today: “The reorganisation of the business, reflecting a re-negotiated print contract and a further reduction in staffing levels, is expected to restore the business to consistent profitability at current circulation and advertising levels as a result of the substantial and sustainable costs savings that are being implemented with immediate effect.
“David Sullivan, the previous proprietor, will assume the position of honorary publisher, and will be assisting Sport Newspaper Limited in its efforts to increase circulation and profitability.”
Sport Media Group said turnover in the six months to the end of January was down 19 per cent year on year to £11.7m. Operating profits in the same period were down 82 per cent from £3.3m to £0.6m.
Chairman David Bailey said the group’s newspaper business had been loss-making since last November.
“Reflecting a price war in the red-top tabloids, and the economic slowdown, circulation and advertising revenues fell substantially thereafter, resulting in trading losses for the newspaper since November,” he said.
“Although circulation has stabilised in recent months, advertising remains sluggish, and while management has been working on cost savings, losses have continued, albeit at reduced levels.”
Sport Media Group said it was no longer in sale discussions with any potential buyers after it successfully managed to rearrange its finances.