Independent News and Media, in conjunction with UK equity firm Provident Capital, has made a â‚¬57m (£39.5m) bid for the Northern Ireland titles of Trinity Mirror Group.
Thomas Crosbie Holdings, owner of the Irish Examiner and the Sunday Business Post, is also believed to have made a bid for the titles, including the Newsletter, which has been excluded from the Independent bid. The latter already owns The Belfast Telegraph and it is likely that the acquisition of the Newsletter would be blocked by the competition authorities.
The Trinity newspapers comprise Century Newspapers and the Derry Journal Group. Provident Capital is believed to be putting up most of the capital for the Independent bid.
Several leading Northern Irish businessmen and politicians are showing an interest in the staunchly-unionist Newsletter, according to some reports, including Ulster Unionist MP David Burnside, who unsuccessfully bid once before.
Other companies showing interest are Archant, formerly involved with the defunct Dublin Daily, Scottish Radio Holdings and venture capitalists 3i, advised by ex-Mirror Group chief executive David Montgomery.
By Des Cryan in Dublin