Digital Publishing
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Johnston Press reports £300m loss after huge newspaper writedown

Yorkshire Post and Scotsman publisher blames Brexit uncertainty for ad slump (rubbish), although i scores sales success

The publisher of titles including the Scotsman, Yorkshire Post and the national i has reported a £300m pre-tax loss due to a tough advertising market and writing down the value of its 200-plus local newspapers.

Johnston Press, which has seen its largest shareholder, Crystal Amber, seek to oust its chief executive and finance chief, reported a £344m non-cash writedown on the value of all its local and regional titles excluding the i.

The i, which the publisher acquired from Evgeny Lebedev for £24m last April, has proved to be a star performer, making £3.3m in profits in the eight months to the end of last year.

The company said the non-cash writedown related to a string of acquisitions in the early part of this century, such as the Scotsman newspaper group, which was acquired for £160m in 2005. The writedown reduces the value of Johnston Press’s publishing titles to £120m, excluding the i, and other print assets to £20m.

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