AddThis SmartLayers

Northcliffe sells Staffordshire weeklies for £1m-plus

Northcliffe Media is to sell five of its weekly newspapers in Staffordshire and South Cheshire to a rival publisher for a sum in excess of £1m, it emerged today.

The Leek Post and Times and four associated titles are to become part of Iliffe News and Media subsidiary Staffordshire Newspapers, which already publishes the Burton Mail.

Staff at the Post and Times were told of the move earlier this week and the deal has also been announced to staff in Burton.

It is understood that no editorial jobs at the affected titles are under threat with the possibility that some additional production roles may be created to undertake work currently done centrally by Northcliffe.

Group editor of Staffordshire Newspapers Steve Lowe told HTFP:  “This is good news all round.  It demonstrates the company’s commitment to local newspapers and fits perfectly with our own footprint.

“We won’t be losing any jobs and we may need a few more people to do some of the work that’s currently taken up by Northcliffe.”

Production of the Post and Times and its sister papers moved to the Stoke offices of the Northcliffe-owned Sentinel in a restructure in 2009.

Around 15-20 staff at the Post and Times are affected by the change of ownership.  Other titles included in the deal are the Cheadle Post and Times, Uttoxeter Post and Times, Moorlands Advertiser and South Cheshire Advertiser.

Northcliffe Media said in a statement:   “Northcliffe Media Limited has agreed the sale of the Leek Post & Times Business to Staffordshire Newspapers, part of Iliffe News and Media Limited.

“The sale is subject to the appropriate legal consultation with the employees of the Post & Times under the TUPE regulations.

“This sale gives us a greater opportunity to concentrate on developing our Stoke portfolio.”

Northcliffe originally purchased the Post and Times series from the Hill Brothers in 2003.  The titles are currently edited by Steve Houghton.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • June 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    As a former deputy editor of the once independent Your Leek Paper which was founded after the takeover of the Leek Post & Times in 2003 – this news is very sad. I watched with dismay when Illife took over YLP a few years later and reduced the quality, failed to invest in journalism and as a result slashed circulation by thousands. The company let valuable team members including a popular editor, advertising staff and one of the best managing directors I have ever worked for go.

    I can’t wait to see what excellent ideas Illife management have for the Leek Post & Times. I hope they have learned from the mistakes of the past.

    Like this comment(0)
  • June 16, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Do i detect some bitterness from Mr Lintern?

    He fails to mention that Your Leek Paper was making losses just three years after it was set up and was therefore forced to sell to Staffordshire Newspapers Ltd who agreed to pay off all the debts.

    Surely this news should be welcomed as Iliffe is one of the last privately owned newspapers businesses left that doesn’t have to bow to shareholders needs.

    Over the last couple of years Iliffe have radically redesigned it’s papers, invested in digital technology, and supported an excellent range of journalists.

    I have no doubt that the acquisition of the Post and Times series will secure the future of an excellent series of newspapers, and strengthen Iliffe’s position as the leading publisher in Staffordshire.

    It could be viewed as an indication of a greater investment in local newspapers, with the rise of the internet threatening regional and national press.

    I’m sure the employees at both Staffordshire Newspapers Ltd (Your Leek Paper, Uttoxeter Advertiser, Ashbourne News Telegraph, Burton Mail and Staffordshire Newsletter) and the Post and Times series will work together to maintain a strong collection of regional papers in Staffordshire.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • June 17, 2011 at 8:03 am

    I can only presume Mr Moore is a member of the Iliffe board given his over-the-top comments in praise of the company.
    Leading publisher in Staffordshire?
    I’m sure the Express and Star and Sentinel publishers may have something to say about that.
    And as for “excellent range of journalists” – most of the excellent journalists I know who worked for Iliffe got out pretty quickly.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • June 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Iliffe sucked the life out of Your Leek Paper, and took it out of the town of Leek. There’s a costume shop where the offices used to be. Now they will no doubt look to close the paper entirely.

    A previous commenter described the Post and Times series as excellent; perhaps he is reading a different series of papers to me. If Staffordshire newspapers maintain the current setup for the Post and Times series then the future’s not bright, its just mind-numbingly boring and out of touch.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)