Trinity's Irish titles could be first to go

Trinity Mirror could be set to sell both its Irish titles and its exhibition and magazine businesses.

As speculation mounts about the outcome of chief executive Sly Bailey’s strategic review, a leading media analyst has predicted that the company’s “non-core” businesses will soon be on the market.

Paul Richards, of stockbrokers Numis Securities, said: “The national titles are core, the regional titles by and large would be core, the sports titles are probably core – but when it comes to the Irish titles, I would expect them to go. I would also expect magazines and exhibitions to go.”

Trinity Mirror owns the Daily and Sunday Mirrors, The People and in Scotland the Daily Record and Sunday Mail. It also has 230 regional papers, a sports division, which includes the Racing Post, an exhibitions arm and a number of small magazines such as Geriatric Medicine, Music Mart and Sports Car Classics.

The company’s two main Northern Ireland titles are the Derry Journal and Belfast’s The News Letter.

Richards said: “It used to make sense to have these titles when Trinity also owned the Belfast Telegraph, but since it sold that to Tony O’Reilly, it doesn’t make as much sense to have a small operation in that country. The economies of scale aren’t there.”

He added: “I’m not not sure if the sports titles are core, I wouldn’t be surprised if they went.

“The small magazine operations and the exhibitions are also fairly small in the context of the group. Trinity has a high level of debt, about two thirds of a billion pounds, and it is going through a re-pressing programme with some of its regional presses. It would be very useful to cut down some debt or put some money towards re-pressing.”

Trinity Mirror has declined to comment about Bailey’s strategic review prior to the publication of the company’s interim results on 31 July.

By Dominic Ponsford

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