Guardian Media Group, owner of the Observer and Guardian newspapers, has confirmed it is preparing a review of its non-national newspaper assets, fuelling speculation that it could sell its classified advertising arm.
GMG is understood to be aiming to appoint a financial adviser in the next few weeks to conduct a review of its print classified, radio and regional newspaper assets.
The review will also consider the future of its radio assets, which include the Smooth FM jazz station.
A sale of the Trader Media business, whose 70 titles include Auto Trader, could fetch up to £1.7 billion, according to some analysts.
In 2003 GMG paid £600 million to take control of Trader Media, which made an operating profit of £117 million in the year to last April. ..SUPL: