The widely-anticipated result of a four-month review of its newspaper operations by TrinityMirror has revealed a plan few analysts had predicted or considered.
With many suggesting the group would either seek to sell off flagship national titles like The Mirror, or keep operations in tact and begin the fight for survival with renewed gusto, TrinityMirror has taken an entirely different course.
The bulk of the national titles will remain, as will key regionals in Scotland, the North of England and Wales (http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1971798,00.html).
However, the company is looking to sell off sports division, which includes the Racing Post and is valued at around £200m, along with regional titles in the Midlands, London and the south-east.
This includes my old paper The Birmingham Post and its sister titles in the city The Evening Mail and Sunday Mercury.
A period of uncertainty, therefore, while TrinityMirror’s bankers begin the disposal process.
The company’s chief executive Sly Bailey called the Midlands titles “valuable assets” and suggested they would prove extremely attractive to potential buyers. For once, I’m in agreement with her.
The potential for these titles is enormous. Birmingham and the wider Midlands is ripe for investment, as witnessed in several sectors and industries in recent times. The Midlands’ media industry is no exception.
That potential is epitomised by The Birmingham Post. A sleeping giant for so many years it has been starved of investment – from new technology through to editorial staff – for too long by TrinityMirror.
With no real rival in the Midlands, the paper should be in a far healthier position. With the right investment in the right areas, The Birmingham Post would be a sound purchase.
It already sets the regional agenda, it has solid advertising revenue, a loyal and talented editorial staff and as Birmingham continues to grow the potential readership also increases.
I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that there is someone out there with enough vision and deep enough pockets willing to make the investment.