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Forth Independent buys East Kilbride Mail

Forth Independent Newspapers Ltd, publishers of the Wee County News, has bought the East Kilbride Mail for an undisclosed sum.

The free weekly was launched a year ago by businessmen Steve McLaughlin, former circulation director of the Daily Record, and Crawford Brankin, one-time editor of the Scottish Mirror, as a rival to Trinity Mirror’s East Kilbride News.

It now distributes 26,000 copies each week.

Steve said: “The EK Mail has quickly established significant readership and advertising levels and we are pleased to see the title given the opportunity to expand under the leadership of a progressive established publisher with an experienced management team and a successful track record.”

The acquisition is the first to be announced by FIN Ltd since it was established following a management buyout of the award-winning Wee County News from Johnston Press in September 2002.

FIN managing director Pauline McCart, who headed up the successful acquisition in East Kilbride, said: “This is the exciting first phase of our expansion and we look forward to making great strides with the new enlarged company.

“The EK Mail is already well established and respected in the area, by both readers and advertisers, and under our stewardship we hope to build on what has already been achieved.”

The purchase means that founding investor Ally McCoist is selling his share in the newspaper. The former Rangers and Scotland star is delighted that things have worked out so well in this venture in his home town.

He said: “I am very pleased that the EK Mail has established itself so quickly in East Kilbride and I wish the new owners every success in the future.”

  • FIN chairman Ernest Petrie and former Regional Independent Media chief executive Chris Oakley, who are both FIN shareholders, both held minority stakes in the EK Mail when it launched.