News publisher, Johnston Press has gone up for sale.
The company has a portfolio of 200 titles, including the Harrogate Advertiser , Knaresborough Post, Wetherby News, Ripon Gazette, further afield it has titles such as the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening post.
The sale has been forced after an inability to make payments associated with a refinancing package to pay off its £220m debt.
They purchased the i newspaper in April 2016 and that gave a boost to advertising and circulation figures.
The Chief Executive, David King, has been running the company since May 2017, following Ashley Highfield’s departure. He has acted to reassure the groups 2,141 staff that there is still a “positive future.”
Harrogate staff have been told it is business as usual for the time being.
Local news continues to shift from paper sales to online delivery of news. That shift has seen greater competition for advertising budgets, with more competition bringing lower rates and overall lower income. In basic terms the return with a printed advert is much greater than an online advert, if you also couple that to around 75% of news being read on a mobile device, it reduces the scope for monetization.
The industry-wide problem is how to convert a largely print business into an online business retaining the same level of income.