(Adds background, context, share movement)
Dec 16 Johnston Press Plc, publisher of
the Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post and a string of local
newspapers, said it had agreed to sell its unit Johnston
Publishing East Anglia Ltd to family-owned publisher Iliffe News
and Media Ltd for 17 million pounds ($21.13 million) in cash.
Shares in Johnston Press opened about 15 percent higher at
13.26 pence on the London Stock Exchange.
Johnston Press has been battling a fall in advertising
spending, much like other publishers, and has resorted to
cutting jobs at an average rate of 12.2 percent in the last five
years to reduce costs.
The company, which has lost more than 90 percent of its
market value since May 2014, has been selling off assets to
reduce debt. The company said in July it would sell its Isle of
Man titles to Tindle Newspapers for 4.25 million pounds.
Johnston Press shareholder Crystal Amber Fund Ltd
can help management avoid a poor debt restructuring deal, the
hedge fund's chief executive officer told Reuters in September.
Johnston Press, which publishes the Suffolk Free Press, the
Haverhill Echo, the Newmarket Journal, the Bury Free Press and
the Diss Express in East Anglia, said proceeds from the sale
would be used to reduce the company's net debt.
The sale includes titles and related intellectual property
rights of Johnston Publishing East Anglia and would help
Johnston Press focus on its selected markets and digital growth,
the company said in a statement.
($1 = 0.8044 pounds)
(Reporting by Sanjeeban Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil