Yorkshire Post publisher put back up for sale

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JPI Media, the publisher of the Yorkshire Post and Sheffield Star, has put itself back up for sale and also plans to cut up to 30 jobs.

The company had a number of interested bidders last year but no sale was completed and in February JPII said it was no longer "actively exploring" a sale.

Now Chief Executive David King has told staff that the board has decided to put the company back up for sale, with financial adviser GCA Altium appointed to lead the process.

“I have always been of the view that business would benefit from being part of the industry’s consolidation, albeit it remains a good business in its own right (as recent months have shown)," King said.

He added that “we had over £22m of cash in the bank at the end of August and we have successfully come through the lockdown in a strong place.”

In a separate staff memo, Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Clifford said job cuts were proposed in the Scottish small brands, advanced content hubs, community sport and design hub teams.

About 24 jobs are being created in a newly-formed central digital content team, but overall there will be a net loss of 20 to 30 roles.

“I am sorry this is difficult news for people who have worked so hard for our company during what has already been a very challenging year," Clifford said.

“The economic circumstances and changes to the ways in which our readers access content mean we need to respond to those challenges to ensure the continuing viability of our business.

“I am sorry this is difficult news for people who have worked so hard for our company during what has already been a very challenging year.

“The economic circumstances and changes to the ways in which our readers access content mean we need to respond to those challenges to ensure the continuing viability of our business.”

“Over the past few months we have learned much about the types of content that engage our readers and we intend to continue to shift our focus to producing more content that appeals to our digital readership – particularly for our biggest brands.

“What we have learned about the value of our digital content has reinforced our belief in our digital strategy and transformation.”

These will be the first editorial job cuts proposed at JPI since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Up to 100 sales staff were made redundant earlier this summer.

About 350 employees were put on furlough in April, with a small number of staff remaining on the scheme. Salary cuts put in place at the same time of up to 15% for those who continued working have mostly been lifted, with only senior members of staff still taking a reduction.

The publisher has also implemented a number of paywalls on its titles since lockdown began, while the Yorkshire Post began asking for voluntary donations last month.