We'll keep all Score titles, says Bowdler

Johnston chief executive Tim Bowdler is confident the group will not
have to divest any of the titles of the Scottish Radio Holdings
newspaper division – Score Press – which it immediately acquired
following the £285.4 million Emap acquisition of SRH, writes Hamish
Mackay.

He believes there should be no competition concerns as
the bulk of the new titles Johnston acquired for £155m are in regions
where it has little or no presence.

Of the titles Johnston is taking over, 16 are in Scotland, 24 in Northern Ireland and five in the Irish Republic.

The
deal brings the Galloway Gazette and Stornoway Gazette back into the
Johnston fold after it sold the titles to Score when it bought Regional
Independent Media for £560m in 2002.

Bowdler said he didn’t expect any job cuts following the deal.

“There
are no overlaps, so from that sense there are no cuts. But we will have
much bigger purchasing power,which we intend to make work to our
advantage.”

He pointed to the huge growth potential in the
profitable markets of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as
one of the main attractions of the deal.

In the last financial
year to September 2004, Score reported revenues of £35.1m and operating
profits of £11.2m. It is not yet clear whether the radio acquisition
will lead to job losses.

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