Bosses of an independent island weekly are backing a bid by regional publishing giant Newsquest to buy the newspaper.
Shareholders of the Isle of Wight County Press are being asked to consider an offer from the regional publisher to acquire the entire issued share capital of the group.
A decision is expected in around four weeks time and, if accepted, “Special arrangements” would be made to safeguard the paper’s editorial independence
Across the Solent in Hampshire, Newsquest already owns the Southern Daily Echo as well as a number of weekly titles.
On behalf of the board, Robin Freeman, IW County Press Group chief executive, said: “The board of the IWCP Group strongly believe that this is the best way forward for our group of companies.
“It provides access to the skills, knowledge and expertise that we need in order for us to be able to adapt and change the existing businesses to meet the opportunities and challenges of the new media landscape that we face.
“Newsquest are a very well-respected and highly professional group and I very much hope that the next chapter of the CP’s life will be as part of their group.
“The directors have been advised that the offer for the group is a fair one and the directors are unanimous in recommending to shareholders that they accept the offer.
“These are exciting times for us all and, if approved, this arrangement will provide a sound future for the group’s excellent products and services. I strongly believe that it will be very good news for the local community, economy and for local democracy on the IW.
“Newsquest are strongly committed to maintaining the editorial independence and integrity of the IW County Press newspaper and special arrangements will be put in place to safeguard this if the offer is accepted by shareholders. Support for the local community is something that is also important to both companies and this will be maintained.”
Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker, pictured above left, added: “We look forward to the opportunity of working with the Isle of Wight County Press, its staff and the community it represents in building on their success as one of the county’s strongest local news brands and helping them forge a strong and sustainable future.”