Johnston Press, which owns titles include the i newspaper, the Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, has put itself up for sale.
The beleaguered publisher, which owns almost 200 regional newspapers, had become bogged down in negotiations with bondholders over a £220m refinancing due in June that it cannot afford.
In a statement to shareholders, the company said: “Since commencing the strategic review of financing options first announced in March 2017, the company has focused on exploring all options available.
“In order to assess all strategic options to maximise value to its stakeholders, the board of Johnston Press announces that it has decided to seek offers for the company.”
The publisher, which is using Rothschild bank to manage the process, would prefer to sell the business as a whole entity. However, rival publishers and interested parties are likely to focus on its most desirable assets.