Johnston eyes two Irish publishers

Johnston Press is firmly on the acquisition trail after finalising
the £155m deal to snap up Scottish Radio Holdings’ 45-title newspaper
division – Score Press.

The Edinburgh-based media group, has now
set its acqusitive eye on two Irish newspaper groups, two national
classified advertising titles and an online recruitment specialist.

The
Score Press group has given it 16 new newspaper titles in Scotland, 24
in Northern Ireland and five in the Irish Republic – and whetted its
appetite for more buys in the profitable Irish newspaper industry.

Chief
executive Tim Bowdler is sizing up the Leinster Leader Group, which
publishes seven newspaper titles, and the seven-title Local Press
group, acquired by 3i for £46m in 2003.

He has confirmed that he
is running the rule over Exchange & Mart and Auto Exchange put up
for sale by United Business Media – a deal that could cost Johnston
Press as much as £100m.

He is also looking at the £75m-rated online recruitment specialist Hotgroup.

Bowdler
said: “In both (Ireland and Northern Ireland) there is undoubtedly
further changes of ownership likely to take place, and there are good
titles that could become available.”

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