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Tindle sells part of newspaper empire to local managers

Sir Ray TindleVeteran newspaper entrepreneur Sir Ray Tindle has sold part of his newspaper empire to local managers in what he is calling a “ground-breaking deal.”

The 90-year-old has built up a portfolio of nearly 200 local newspapers across the UK, but has now passed on the ownership of some of his London and Dorset titles to the people  who run them.

Tindle executives Philip Evans, Karen Sheppard and Hannah Walker have formed a new company called Capital Media Newspapers in which they each own 30pc with Sir Ray owning 10pc.

It will now take ownership of the South London Press, the Mercury, the London Weekly News series, Pulman’s Weekly News in Dorset and the ‘View From’ titles based in Lyme Regis.

Sir Ray says the deal is designed to ensure the future of the papers which include some of the oldest in the country.

Although he insists the deal does not signal his retirement, he hinted in a statement to staff that he has now begun the task of reshaping the group.

“I don’t intend to retire.  I shall continue with vice-chairman Wendy Craig to run almost the entire Tindle Newspaper Group but I must, this year, start to make changes so that all the papers will continue in good hands for many years ahead,” he said.

“My son, Owen, has his own successful business which he launched from scratch just as I did. He will inherit the newspaper group which he helped me to found but it needs to be of a size and shape so that he and Wendy can cope without affecting Owen’s business.”

Individual titles affected by the deal include the nine edition SLP, the Fulham, Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush Chronicle, the Kensington & Chelsea News and the Westminster & Pimlico News.

Philip, who launched the View From series in 2005 before it was bought out by Tindle, said he was looking forward to the new challenge.

“Having managed local newspapers in London earlier in my career, I am looking forward to the challenge of working alongside Karen and Hannah in continuing to build our stable of titles in the capital as well as retaining my Dorset links with Pulman’s Weekly News and the View From series, which I launched in 2005.

“All three of us share Sir Ray’s undeviating faith in the future of local newspapers and we are excited by the opportunity he has given us and the talented staff we will lead.”

Karen, managing director of the South London Press for the past 18 months said: “This is an extraordinary opportunity, one which I embrace whole heartedly.

“I look forward to continuing the successful programme of change and improvements the team have been working on for the past 12 months, building on the launch of new titles in central London and enhancing the reputation of the South London Press as one of the capital’s iconic local newspapers with 150 years of history behind it.”

Hannah, who has edited the South London Press for the last 16 years and who began her career as a reporter nearly 30 years ago in Birmingham, said she could not wait to get started.

“It’s always been a huge privilege editing these papers in South London and now to have the chance to steer them further to a healthy future is a huge challenge and opens up yet another new era for these fantastic titles and the brilliant staff that work for them,” she added.

16 comments

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  • January 15, 2016 at 10:15 am
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    I remember staff at my JP paper worried about its future discussing how they might get it out of JPs destructive clutches, but they did not have the money. Since then the office has shut and the paper is a victim of the JP remote newsroom of the feature. Tindle deal surely worth a crack.

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  • January 15, 2016 at 10:23 am
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    At last. This is the only way many of our newspapers will survive. Local ownership with realistic profit expectations.

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  • January 15, 2016 at 10:51 am
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    Canny Sir Ray realises it’s high time he started distancing himself from once great titles such as the South London Press.
    Under his control, decimated staff and imposed ‘hyperlocalisation’, this has become a pale imitation of what it once was.
    It may already be too late to salvage any semblance of trailblazing journalism like in its heydays of the last millennium.
    We must surely, though, wish the few left standing there a brighter future… even if it looks like that ship is sinking fast.

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  • January 15, 2016 at 10:53 am
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    Interesting…hope it works out for the best for everyone at SLP.

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  • January 15, 2016 at 11:17 am
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    An interesting move, worth looking at the financial history of the Dorset view from titles. Administration in 2010, bought buy a local hotel owner then sold to Tindle. Best of luck!

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  • January 15, 2016 at 11:20 am
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    This is one of the few stories on an industry-wide level that seems to have positive aspects to it and let’s hope the new set-up proves a success for everyone. It has a fair chance without the legions of talentless (other than in mastery of mangled management speak) suits that stalk the corridors of the corporations, and disgruntled shareholders for whom selling up is not even an option in some cases. Best of luck to all.

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  • January 15, 2016 at 11:52 am
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    I wonder how the deal is structured. I hope there is something in there to stop the new owners taking a quick buck by selling to TM or Newsquest

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  • January 15, 2016 at 12:18 pm
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    Locally owned, run, staffed and managed is the best route for local press and one that should prove viable with the right staff and the right focus on their communities.
    Well worth a collective punt by journos ad reps and commercial staff currently death by a thousand cuts.
    Hyper local works, it’ll be interesting to see who and how many currently taking the corporste route put their money where their mouth is and go for it

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  • January 15, 2016 at 1:15 pm
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    Mike Lowe is of course correct, back to the roots of local press without corporate blood suckers chasing ever higher profits.

    But just imagine the multiple of profit he could have sold for back in the naughties when the CEO of every big group would suck up to him just in case he tried to sell. Much the same to be said of MNA of course.

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  • January 15, 2016 at 2:06 pm
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    I hope these new owners stick to Tindle’s principles. I can see the big boys eyeing them up for an offer they can ‘t refuse…

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  • January 15, 2016 at 2:06 pm
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    This is excellent news and, hopefully, a model for the future of the industry.
    I just hope that the vultures at TM and JP don’t come calling in the near future with several suitcases stuffed with cash and swallow these titles into the abyss.

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  • January 15, 2016 at 3:37 pm
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    Have any of these people commenting above ever worked for said group?

    They are well-known as under-staffed and under-resourced sweat-shops and the only good news for staff is that they are being taken out of the group.

    There most certainly won’t be any investment.

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  • January 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm
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    UGC beat me too it. The vultures are surely circling.

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  • January 18, 2016 at 10:28 am
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    Is it the fact that Sir Ray can handle two drinks at once that has contributed to his success?

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