Guardian Media puts in bid for RIM

Guardian Media Group is the latest to throw its hat into the ring in the bidding for Regional Independent Media.

Guardian Media Group is the latest to throw its hat into the ring

in the bidding for Regional Independent Media.

GMG, owner of the Manchester Evening News, has applied to the Department

of Trade and Industry for consent to acquire RIM should it make a

successful bid.

The DTI is considering proposed bids by Gannett - the US owner of

Newsquest - and Johnston Press.

RIM, headed by chief executive Chris Oakley, represents the next most

attractive prize in the regional press consolidation game following

Newsquest’s recent acquisition of Newscom.

It is likely a successful bid from any of the three would lead to the

closure of RIM’s national sales operation.

The London-based team of 16 is headed by national and provincial sales

director Mark Soden.

GMG uses Amra to represent its Greater Manchester portfolio nationally

and would be a logical choice to take over the RIM titles.

Johnston Press uses Mediaforce for its national sales representation and

could accommodate the RIM papers.

Newsquest has its own national sales house and is in the process of

reorganising to assimilate the Newscom titles. Newscom’s national sales

house was closed although several of the staff have been rehired by


Newsquest’s classified and business development staff have been

relocated into Newscom’s London office. Newscom’s Manchester office has

been merged into Newsquest’s Manchester sales operation.

RIM’s flagship title is the Leeds-based Yorkshire Evening Post, which

sells around 100,000 copies.

It owns six other dailies in Lancashire and Yorkshire, including the

Yorkshire Post, The Star in Sheffield, the Lancashire Evening Post in

Preston and The Gazette in Blackpool. The RIM portfolio also includes

around 40 weeklies and freesheets.

RIM’s strength in North Lancashire and Yorkshire would compliment GMG’s

domination of the Greater Manchester area. Aside from the MEN, it owns a

collection of weeklies including the Stockport Times and the Rochdale

Observer as well as free morning paper the Manchester Metro News.

GMG must fear a successful Newsquest bid for RIM. The group is strong in

Lancashire, where it owns the Lancashire Evening Telegraph in Blackburn

and in Yorkshire where it owns the Bradford-based Telegraph & Argus.

Newsquest also has a presence in Cheshire.

The third bidder, Johnston Press, is strong in Yorkshire, where it has

three divisions and publishes two dailies - the Scarborough Evening News

and the Evening Courier in Halifax.

RIM’s strength in the North is attractive in developing a powerful

regional base for exploiting web ventures.