Trinity: We tried and failed to sell Midlands weeklies

Trinity Mirror held discussions with several publishers about selling the three weekly newspapers in the Midlands that it announced the closure of on Monday – but said there was ‘no appetite for buying them”.

Yesterday the NUJ urged the company to sell the Chase Post, the Stafford Post and the Sutton News and accused Trinity of having an ‘ulterior motive for the closures’which it was not revealing.

The closure of the Chase Post in Cannock has caused a particular amount of local concern and comment about the loss of the area’s primary local news title.

Trinity has now revealed that it did attempt to sell the titles – and said that it believes the scuppered KM Group takeover of Northcliffe papers in Kent was an ‘unhelpful’factor in the discussions.

‘We conducted discussions with a number of publishers over the potential sale of these titles however there was no appetite for buying them,’a spokesman told Press Gazette.

‘We believe that the recent referral of the Kent Messenger Group’s bid to buy Northcliffe’s Kent titles to the Competition Commission was unhelpful in this regard.”

The KM Group bid collapsed in October when the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) referred the decision to the Competition Commission over monopoly fears, a costly process which the company was unwilling to undertake.

It later emerged that the media regulator Ofcom warned the OFT that both publishers could be forced to close titles if the merger fell through.

On Monday Trinity announced that 50 editorial jobs were being cut in the Midlands as the result of restructure in which its production teams in Birmingham and Coventry will be merged.

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