3i withdraws from SMG auction

3i has dropped out of the bidding to acquire the newspaper titles put up for sale by Scottish Media Group.

The race to acquire Scottish Media Group’s publishing division took a new turn this yesterday when UK venture capital firm 3i withdrew from the auction process after the first round.

The firm was the first to indicate an interest in the business when SMG announced that it was to sell its publishing business, which comprises the Glasgow-based Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times newspapers. 3i teamed up with David Montgomery, former Mirror Group chief executive, to launch its offer.

The remaining bidders for the publishing division are largely trade buyers, including Independent News & Media, Johnston Press, Newsquest and Archant. The Barclay brothers and UK buyout firm Candover have also submitted offers.

The Financial Times reports that first round offers have been made in the region of £140m to £230m, against £200m originally sought by SMG.