Johnston Press buys Scotsman in £160m deal
LONDON - The Scotsman is leaving the Barclay brothers' newspaper stable after regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press struck a £160m cash deal to buy Scotsman Publications.
Scotsman Publications also publishes Scotland on Sunday, paid-for evening paper the Edinburgh Evening News and free weekly the Edinburgh Herald & Post series.
Established in 1817, the Scotsman was bought by the Barclays in 1995 for £87m. It is being sold after successive investments in the paper, first in editorial and then in cover price cuts, failed to head off the continuing decline in its circulation.
The paper's current six-month average circulation is 67,243, down 2.3% year-on-year compared with a late-1990s level of nearly 100,000. This compares to rival quality Scottish daily the Herald, owned by Newsquest, of 76,215.
In its last financial year ending December 31 2004, Scotsman Publications reported profit before interest and tax of £7.7m on turnover of £63.5m.
The acquisition is Johnston Press' fourth in six months, following the £155m deal for regional newspaper group Score Press in August and the £159m spent on Irish newspaper groups Local Press and Leinster Leader.
Tim Bowdler, chief executive of Johnston Press, said: "Scotsman Publications comprises one of Scotland's highest quality newspaper portfolios and The Scotsman and its website are among Scotland's best known newspaper and internet brands."
Andrew Neil, publisher of Press Holdings, the Barclay brothers' holding company, said: "We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Johnston Press which not only recognises the value and improvements we have added to the titles over the decade but secures their long-term future."
The disposal leaves Barclay brothers' Press Holdings with the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, The Business and The Spectator.
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