The Johnston Press has confirmed that it is in advanced discussions over the sale of its Irish newspaper division.

The publisher, which includes the Leinster Leader and Donegal Democrat amongst its 14 Irish titles, said it may sell the newspapers “for an aggregate consideration of €8.5 million in cash”.

However it said there was no certainty that an agreement would be reached and it would make a further announcement on the matter when appropriate.

Yesterday the Sunday Times reported that the Johnston Press was in talks to sell its Irish titles to Mediaforce owner Malcolm Denmark for €12 million.

Mediaforce works between advertisers and regional newspapers in Ireland and Britain, with its Irish arm reporting a turnover of €5.6 million last year.

The Sunday Times reported that Mr Denmark has set up a company called Iconic Newspapers, which will be used to manage the 14 titles should a deal be agreed.