Regional news publisher Archant has confirmed it is talking to a number of potential investors, with reports suggesting that the Norwich-based company could be subject to a takeover.
But Archant, which publishes The New European and Eastern Daily Press, as well as a number of regional weekly titles, has insisted it remains a “very viable business” and is looking to “transform and grow”.
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It comes after Sky News reported that David Montgomery’s National World has tabled a joint bid for the business alongside investment firm Endless, with Newsquest also said to be interested.
Sky reported that a potential takeover of Archant could see it briefly enter administration before being immediately sold off.
But Archant executive chairman Simon Bax told staff this was “not the complete picture” and that the company was “looking at many options”, with bids from individuals, trade and private equity.
He said the situation would become clearer over the coming weeks.
A spokesperson said: “Archant can confirm it is currently talking to a number of potential investors which will enable it to strengthen the organisation as it continues to transform and grow and it remains a very viable business.”
Potential bidder Montgomery outlined his plans for the newly formed National World last September, saying he “aims to transform the [local news] sector through acquisition and partnership”.
The Local World founder and former News of the World editor has also been in talks to acquire JPI Media’s regional portfolio and Newsquest.
Bax said trading at Archant was continuing to improve as the company emerges “stronger” from the Covid-19 crisis, which he said had been a “considerable setback”.
News publishers have suffered under the advertising downturn and decline in print sales brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Recently Archant moved its magazines under one division, head up by newly named head of content Liz Nice.
Three sports reporters are being made redundant at Archant’s offices in London and Hertfordshire.
The sports team in London is being cut from three reporters to one, while the Hertfordshire team is going down from two to one.
Press Gazette understands the intention is for the news teams to help out with sport content.
Since around the end of April, there has been one sports reporter working in each office with the other three furloughed under the Government’s job retention scheme.
It is understood that no cuts have been made to the news teams at this time.