Regional newspaper publisher sinks to £47m loss

JPIMedia - formerly known as Johnston Press - has been striving to expand its digital business as print advertising continues to fall

The owner of newspapers including The Scotsman, Yorkshire Post and Sheffield Star has slumped to a near £50m loss in its first results since being bought out of administration. 

JPIMedia posted a pre-tax loss of £47.7m for the 66 weeks to January 4 as it grappled with a persistent slide in print advertising. 

Revenues reached £145.9m over the period, with newspaper and digital advertising hitting £49.3m and £23.2m respectively. 

The financial update comes after Johnston Press was bought out of administration by its lenders for £181m two years ago under the JPIMedia name.

Last month the company put up the "for sale" sign over its stable of more than 200 titles.

Former newspaper mogul David Montgomery and RCapital, the buy-out fund behind rival regional publisher Archant, are understood to have lodged bids.

JPIMedia sold national newspaper the i to Daily Mail owner DMG Media for £49m in November last year.

It used the money to pay down £45m of debt and contribute £2.2m of working capital to the i's new owners, according to its latest accounts. 

A further £6m was spent on restructuring and redundancy costs, while £1.4m was paid out on an aborted attempt to sell the regional news business at the end of 2019. 

Meanwhile, education publisher Pearson recorded a 10pc drop in third-quarter sales as its American business struggled. 

The former owner of the Financial Times said its North American courseware division was down 15pc over the period, while global sales also dropped 26pc due to pandemic disruption.

The update follows reports of mounting pressure on chairman Sidney Taurel after Pearson's largest shareholders criticised the board's decision to hand new boss Andy Bird a bumper pay deal.