JPIMedia has received takeover offers from rival newspaper publisher Archant and veteran media executive and former Mirror boss David Montgomery, according to Sky News.
Archant and a consortium comprising Montgomery and turnaround investor Endless tabled bids for the publisher ahead of a deadline this week.
It comes after Archant recently agreed a rescue deal with Rcapital. A vote saw 94% of voting creditors choose to approve the CVA, surpassing the 75% total required in order to pass the resolution.
According to Sky, analysts now believe that Archant is the likeliest buyer of JPIMedia because of the “potential cost savings that a merger would generate”.
It was first revealed that JPIMedia, the owner of the Scotsmand and Yorkshire Post, would resume a sales process last month.
The publisher launched a renewed bid to sell the company “amid intense pressure on the business models of Britain’s biggest regional newspaper groups”.
CEO David King has previously told staff that discussions over a potential sale were no longer active following “lengthy” talks with potential buyers.
In an internal note seen by Media Sector, JPIMedia said: “As you know, we completed the sale of the i to DMGT in the autumn. We also had a number of interested bidders for the regional business at that time although no sale was completed. That process has been on hold since the onset of Covid-19 and the resulting lock down.
“Revenues are still tracking below pre-Covid-19 levels, but since the lock down started to ease we have seen many advertisers return, and as customers gradually return to the high street, so newspaper sales are also growing again.”
It added: “As a result, the board is now of the view that it is the right time to re-start the process of exploring its options for the sale of the business. I have always been of the view that business would benefit from being part of the industry’s consolidation, albeit it remains a good business in its own right.
“I can confirm that the board has just appointed GCA Altium as its financial adviser to lead this process. As I have said before, it is the nature of these processes that they are confidential and I am not able to give you a running commentary on its progress, but will of course update you when it is appropriate.”