Reports that the Newsquest group of nearly 300 newspapers including 17 dailies might to be put up for sale makes more sense if you look at a statistical report issued by its US parent, Gannett, last week. This shows the impact the weakness of the dollar is having on the group’s performance.
It says that if the exchange rate had remained constant year-over-year, operating revenues in November would have been 2.3% higher.
On the face of it, this is not a good time to sell British regional newspapers. Northcliffe has failed to find a buyer at the right price, and Trinity Mirror’s board is to consider the future both of its regional and national titles on Wednesday.
But faced with falling circulation and advertising volumes and the dollar worth little more than 50p, it might be a good time for Gannett to retrench on its home territory.
UPDATE, Dec 12. Gannett has issued a statement saying there is no truth in reports that they are considering selling Newsquest.