THE OWNER of a group of Sussex newspapers has put itself up for sale.

Johnston Press, which publishes weekly titles including the Worthing Herald, Eastbourne Herald, West Sussex County Times, Chichester Observer and the Brighton and Hove Independent, says it is seeking offers for a takeover.

The publisher also owns national newspapers The Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post and the i.

It comes after months of speculation around the company's future.

The decision comes as a result of a strategic review, which the firm launched in 2017 to assess options for refinancing £220 million of bonds due for repayment next year.

The company said it is not currently in discussions with any potential buyers.

Speculation that the publisher would be sold has been growing since it announced the strategic review in March 2017.

In August 2018, the company's share price spiked, surging by as much as 70 per cent in afternoon trading amid rumours that a mystery buyer was quietly snapping up more stock.

Bidders could include Custos Group, which already owns more than 20 per cent of the company.