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£50m Guiton Group takeover bid is launched

The owner of the Shropshire Star and the Express & Star in Wolverhampton has launched a £50m takeover bid for the Guiton Group, the parent company of the Jersey Evening Post and Guernsey Press and Star.

The bid by the Claverley Company, a family firm, would see it take full control of the Channel Islands publisher, of which it already has a 35 per cent share.

The deal values the Guiton Group at £75.9m. It has already been approved by the its independent directors and has been given the backing of the Guiton family who are key shareholders.

Their shareholding, together with the Claverley stake, means that 74 per cent of the group’s shareholders already support the deal.

Guiton Group chairman Frank Walker, a descendant of the group’s founder Walter Guiton, said that after deciding to sell, the group had received interest from various companies but felt that as a long-term partner Claverley, controlled by the Graham family, was “the safest pair of hands”.

He said: “From a reader’s point of view, there will be little noticeable difference. The newspapers will retain their editorial independence and remain integral to island life.

“Although control of Guiton is passing to a UK company, I know that the Graham family appreciates the central role our newspapers play in Jersey and Guernsey. The only change will be increased investment in the group.”

Claverley has made a cash offer of £2.80 for each Guiton share or £2.90 if shareholders are willing to be paid £1.45 when the offer is settled and another £1.45 on its first anniversary.

Claverley chairman Douglas Graham, said: “We intend to manage the Guiton Group as an independent operation under our ownership. The acquisition will not change our policy of investing within our current business.”

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