Private equity firm in bid for regional publisher

Private-equity firm Endless LLP has reportedly joined forces with National World, which is owned by newspaper entrepreneur David Montgomery, to submit a bid for a leading regional publisher.

Sky News has reported that the two have firms have submitted a joint bid for Archant, which publishes 60 newspapers and 75 magazines including Yorkshire Life. The publisher is said to be seeking a sale after Covid-19 exacerbated a funding gap brought due to the pandemics impact on advertising revenues.

This deal which is Montgomery’s latest attempt to return to the publishing industry having last year tabled a bid for Yorkshire Post publisher JPI Media.

It is expected that Archant’s advisers at KPMG will reach a decision about the sale in the near future. But the joint bid by Endless and National World will face competition with Newsquest a rival regional publisher and another private equity firm believed to have submitted offers.

Archant’s history dates back to 1845 and despite falling sales it has continued to invest, launching The New European and last year launching a partnership with Google to create a new form of digital news.

A spokesperson for Archant confirmed the sale earlier this month stating, “The board of Archant confirms it is in early-stage discussions with a number of third parties who have expressed an interest in investing in our business.

“For clarity, the company faces no immediate threat to trading, and continues business operations as normal.”

Endless and National World have both declined to comment.

Endless has previously been involved with a number of well-known brands supporting their transformation, including The Works, which it supported for over a decade before it went to IPO in 2018, and British luggage brand Antler, which it acquired in 2017 before selling to ATR Holdings this year.