Marc Reeves, founder of the newly launched Business Desk West Midlands, blogs on news the Guardian Media Group is to sell Manchester Evening News (MEN) to his former employer Trinity Mirror:
[T]he key questions: what do GMG and Trinity Mirror get out of the deal? For the latter, I think it’s pretty clear. With declining revenues and circulation, another round of consolidation is probably an inevitable strategy for the biggest groups, whose scale demands that de-duplicating resources and cutting costs are required to counter the exodus of readers and advertisers. There’s also a very handy strategic regional fit for the Manchester titles alongside Trinity’s existing Merseyside titles.
For GMG, though, it’s less clear. Does the disposal allow the group to concentrate on the march towards digital dominance spearheaded by the Guardian brand? Or perhaps GMG has just decided that the ‘cash cow’ role of the regionals simply doesn’t work any more in the new media economy, and it’s better off without the distraction. Whatever the case, my money is on a rise in the number of deals amongst the major publishers following the TM-GMG shuffle, as more try to optimise the geographical ‘sense’ of their sometimes disparate and accidental portfolios.