Amra loses out as WP moves to Newsquest

Newsquest Media Group has stripped Amra, the regional newspaper sales house, of the agency sales business for its recently acquired Westminster Press operation.

Newsquest Media Group has stripped Amra, the regional newspaper

sales house, of the agency sales business for its recently acquired

Westminster Press operation.



Westminster Press, with billings of pounds 14 million, is thought to

account for as much as 30 per cent of the sales house’s revenue although

Amra itself claims the figure is closer to 15 per cent.



The decision to take the business in-house follows a pitch late last

week.



However, many observers predicted the move at the time Newsquest bought

Westminster in August last year (Campaign, 9 August 1996). It has been

delayed only by a need to clear the plan with the Monopolies and Mergers

Commission.



Jim Brown, the chairman and chief executive of Newsquest, cited a

conflict of interest as one reason for the move. ’There are economic

considerations and conflicts between our newspapers and other titles

represented by Amra,’ he said.



The move consolidates sales representing more than 180 newspapers with

billings of more than pounds 28 million into Newsquest.



But Neil Hepburn, the associate planning director at BMP DDB, said

Newsquest would face a difficult task combining the two very different

businesses.



’Newsquest has many free papers and Westminster a lot of paid-for

titles,’ Hepburn said. ’Westminster traditionally sold on a yield basis

and Newsquest on market share. This must be reconciled.’



Neither Roy Jeans, the managing director of Amra, nor Mike McCormack,

the chief executive, were available for comment as Campaign went to

press.



Malcolm Denmark, the managing director of Mediaforce, Amra’s rival

regional sales house, claimed it was unclear whether Newsquest would be

able to handle the job. ’I don’t think Newsquest has anywhere near the

resources that Amra or we have,’ he said.



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