The Daily Mail has snapped up the ‘i’ newspaper for £49.6m.
Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT.L) announced the all-cash deal on Friday, buying the concise mid-market daily from JPI Media, which also owns titles like The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post.
“We are delighted to welcome the 'i' to our stable of media brands,” DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere said in a statement. “It is a highly respected publication with a loyal and engaged readership.
“We are committed to preserving its distinctive, high-quality, and politically independent editorial style.”
The i, which was only founded in 2010, sells 170,000 copies each weekday and 190,000 copies of its Saturday edition. Its website draws 300,000 daily visitors.
Lord Rothermere said the deal was “both strategically and financially compelling for DMGT and there is scope for potential synergies in the future, notably from dmg media's existing infrastructure and in advertising sales.”
The i had operating income of £11m last year and made an operating profit on revenue of £34m, DMGT said. Lord Rothermere said the paper would be “a strong cash generator for the Group.”
DMGT, which also owns free commuter paper the Metro, said it expected the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority to probe the takeover.
“The business will benefit from DMGT's long-term approach and commitment to investing in editorial content,” Lord Rothermere said. “We also see good opportunities to develop inews.co.uk, a growing digital media asset.”
The i was originally founded as a sister paper to the Independent and began life in the same building as the Daily Mail, which owns a stake in the Independent’s parent company. It was sold to what was then Johnston Press for £24m in 2016.
It became part of JPIMedia after hedge funds took control of bust Johnston Press’ assets in a rescue deal. Sky News first reported that JPIMedia’s hedge fund owners were considering a sale of the i in May.