'Nothing ruled out' as Trinity Mirror begins full review

Trinity Mirror journalists face an uncertain few months as the company weighs up selling off any or all of its 250-plus newspaper titles.

The UK's biggest newspaper publisher has revealed plans for a review of all its businesses after revealing that operating profits for the six months to July 2006 were down 14.3 per cent year on year to £110 million on turnover down 2.2 per cent to £566.6m.

The review is due to be completed by the end of the year and chief executive Sly Bailey has emphasised that nothing has been ruled in or out at this stage.

In June and July, Trinity Mirror sold its specialist magazines and exhibitions division for £42.7m. Any further selloffs could involve its remaining sports division (The Racing Post), nationals division (Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, The People, Sunday Mail and Daily Record) or its regionals division (some 240 daily and weekly titles).

Over the last two years, Trinity has also been building a broad portfolio of web businesses with hundreds of buyups and launches.

Bailey said Trinity Mirror would not be following the example of Daily Mail and General Trust, which announced a similar review last November only to quickly place its regional newspaper division, Northcliffe, on the market and then U-turn three months later.

Bailey said: "This is not a Northcliffe two. Northcliffe, I understand, announced a strategic review, then issued an information memorandum the next day or the next week.

"This is a full review, as we have said, of our businesses, our operating models and our structure. We are going to be looking at what we do, we are going to be looking at how we do it, we are going to be looking at how well we do it and we are going to be looking at why we do it and the cost of doing it, in order to understand the projections and value of those businesses over time.

"It's a review and it's too early to comment on what the outcome in any way, shape or form will be."

However, she added: "We do believe in the future of newspapers. We wouldn't be launching them otherwise.

We believe that they have a vibrant future, but we think it's an appropriate time to look at our portfolio in full — every business, every title — but it is too early to comment further than that."

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