The chief executive of Johnston Press has reassured staff of a “brighter future” after the company announced it was preparing to enter into administration.
In an email to staff seen by the Press Association, David King said the publisher will apply for court approval to be sold to a newly-incorporated group of companies controlled by creditors.
It informed staff they would continue to be paid and should turn up to work as normal, with their contracts to be transferred to the new company.
Mr King is set to stay on as chief executive and said “operations will continue uninterrupted”, with newspapers and websites being published as usual.
He said: “This has not been an easy decision for the board.
“However, having explored a range of other options, this is the best available course of action and it is one that offers a chance for a brighter future for our business.”
One of Britain’s biggest publishers, it has more than 200 titles in print and online, including the i, The Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman.
The publisher had recently been looking at ways to refinance £220 million of debt which is due to be repaid in June next year.
In the email to staff, Mr King said: “At its peak, the company’s debt reached £793 million.
“We have all worked incredibly hard to reduce those debts. And we have done so against a relentlessly tough market backdrop.”
At its most recent trading update, Johnston reported a hit to revenues, mostly due to changes in Google and Facebook algorithms.