Newspaper consolidation gathers pace

Newsquest, the UK’s second-biggest regional newspaper group, has held takeover talks with Archant, owner of titles including the Ham & High in London and anti-Brexit paper the New European, as consolidation continues to sweep the industry. However, the talks apparently ended in part due to reticence from Newsquest’s parent Gannett, the owner of USA Today and the largest newspaper proprietor in the US.

News of the talks emerged following the move last week by Newsquest, which publishes 200 titles in the UK, to buy Carlisle-based newspaper publisher CN Group.

CN Group, which has been run by the Burgess family for four generations, is selling up after more than 200 years of independence, having admitted it is one of a swathe of mid-size publishers that lacks the scale to compete against Facebook, Snapchat and Google for advertising.

“In order to survive, consolidation is key to compete with the online players and retain some share of digital advertising,” says Alice Pickthall, media analyst at Enders.