Mirror Group drops Sporting Life relaunch in favour of its website

Mirror Group has abandoned its relaunch of Sporting Life as a newspaper, concentrating its efforts instead on the brand’s internet site.

Mirror Group has abandoned its relaunch of Sporting Life as a

newspaper, concentrating its efforts instead on the brand’s internet

site.



The announcement was made on Thursday by the group’s chief executive,

John Allwood, as he unveiled the preliminary full-year financial results

for 1998.



The decision follows research carried out on the various dummies created

for a daily sports newspaper.



It leaves Grey, the agency appointed to handle a reported pounds 8

million relaunch campaign, in limbo. Jeremy Reed, the managing director

of Mirror Sports Group, was unavailable for comment as Campaign went to

press.



The move is part of a fresh strategic direction approved by the group’s

new management, which aims to focus on its core national and regional

newspaper activities.



As a result, the group is also seeking a buyer for its cable venture,

Live TV, and is willing to sell its 18.6 per cent stake in Scottish

Media Group. A source said there were ’several interested buyers for

Live TV’.



There is a possibility, however, that the regional newspaper group,

Trinity - which is bidding to take over Mirror Group - may try to block

its efforts to sell the SMG stake, which it sees as a strategic

asset.



Mirror Group turned down Trinity’s takeover offer of pounds 972 million

this week, but left the door open for further talks. Trinity is expected

to sit tight while its rival bidder, Regional Independent Media, decides

whether to come forward with a new offer.



Although RIM’s chief executive, Chris Oakley, would only say that RIM’s

management was ’considering our position’, it is believed that the

regional newspaper group will refer its interest in Mirror Group to the

Monopolies & Mergers Commission before making another bid.



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