Northcliffe buys 25 Trinity southern titles in £64m deal

Trinity Mirror has sold 25 of its local papers in Kent, East Surrey and Sussex and a local magazine group in Dorset to Northcliffe for £64.15 million.

The local media division of the Daily Mail and General Trust announced this morning that it had agreed to buy three parts of the Trinity Mirror portfolio that the group had put up for sale earlier this year.

East Surrey and Sussex Newspapers publishes two paid-for weekly papers – the Croydon Advertiser and the Surrey Mirror – as well as five free papers, with a combined distribution of around 313,000, according to the regional newspapers ABCs for the last half of 2006.

Kent Regional Newspapers includes six paid-fors including the Dover Express and the Medway News. It also comprises the Folkestone and Dover Herald freesheet series and seven free Adscene titles. The total distribution for all the Kent titles is in the region of 421,000.

Northcliffe has also agreed to buy Blackmore Vale Magazine, Fosse Way Magazine and Community Magazine – three free titles published in Dorset, with a combined distribution of about 136,000.

The sale sees Northcliffe expand further into the south-east – an area in which holds relatively few titles. The newly acquired titles will be merged into Northcliffe’s South East division, apart from Blackmore Vale Magazine, which will become part of the South West Weeklies division.

The Northcliffe Media managing director, Michael Pelosi, said: “Over the last year the transformation of Northcliffe has been dramatic. We believe that the division has an excellent future as a provider of high quality local media content and services.

“Today’s acquisitions strengthen our publishing reach in a region demonstrating strong economic growth where digital opportunities are particularly attractive. We are acquiring strong products which are at the heart of their local communities and are looking forward to working with our new colleagues.”

In a statement to the City, Trinity Mirror said the sale of its Midlands titles, sports division (which includes the Racing Post) and its remaining assets in London and the south-east (which include the South London Press) was making progress, and was expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

Completion of the sale to Northcliffe is expected later this month.

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