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
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
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
’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
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.