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Newspaper group buys new titles in six-figure deal

A Scottish media group has added three weekly titles to its portfolio with the purchase of a family-owned publisher in what is thought to be a six-figure deal.

Banffshire based J&M Publishing has been sold to Scottish Provincial Press after 133 years in the Johnston family.

The family – which is not connected to Johnston Press – founded the Banffshire Avdvertiser in 1881 and it has continued to be owned by them up to the present day, along with sister titles the Huntly Express and Banffshire Herald.

But the current owners, husband and wife team Jack and Jackie Johnston, have decided to sell the papers to SPP for an undisclosed sum believed to be in excess of £100,000.

Inverness-based SPP already publishes 13 paid-for weeklies including the Inverness Courier, Northern Scot and John O’Groat Journal.

The three additions to its portfolio enables the company, which already owns the Banffshire Journal in Banff, to expand its presence in the areas north of Aberdeen.

The deal was announced by SPP Managing Director Thelma Henderson who said: “This is fantastic news, not just for SPP but for the three titles we have acquired.

“We are an independent company that is completely committed to local newspapers and the vital role they play in their communities.

“The J&M titles are a perfect fit for us geographically, extending our footprint across an area that sits neatly between our Northern Scot and Banffshire Journal titles.

“It is a massive vote of confidence in the local newspaper scene in Scotland from a group with a proud tradition of serving the news and information needs of some the remotest communities in Scotland.”

SPP currently employs 240 people at 11 sites across the north of Scotland. J&M employs 23 people in three centres at Huntly, Buckie and Keith.