Regional publisher Newsquest has expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of independent newspaper publisher Romanes Media Group, it has been announced today.
The independent publisher, which comprises one daily newspaper and 28 weekly titles, has been purchased for an undisclosed sum.
Romanes Media Group owns titles in Scotland and the South-East of England, plus the Impartial Reporter in Northern Ireland, and was formed in April 2012 with a management buyout of the Dunfermline Press group after it collapsed owing more than £25m.
Newsquest is one of the largest regional media groups in the UK with more than 150 brands and claims to reach more than 20m visitors a month online and 6.5m readers a week in print.
The acquisition takes Newsquest from owning around 200 newspapers and magazine to approximately 230 titles.
A statement from Newsquest today said that the vendor for the sale was the Romanes management and Remich – a joint venture between Goldman Sachs and TPG.
Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker said: “Newsquest is focused on building one of the leading local multi-media publishing businesses in the UK, and I am delighted to welcome Romanes Media Group to the company.
“We operate in separate markets but this portfolio of good quality weekly titles provides a strong fit with plenty of opportunity.”
He told HTFP: “Because we operate in separate markets, we don’t currently envisage any job reductions in reporting or advertising sales roles.”
The Romanes portfolio includes one daily title, the Greenock Telegraph, 19 weekly paid-fors and nine weekly frees, along with associated websites, and the company employs around 270 staff.
And titles it owns in the South East as part of the Berkshire Media Group include the Reading Chronicle, Bracknell News and the Slough Observer.
An annoucement to Romanes staff by managing director Graham Morrison, which has been seen by HTFP, said: “During the next few days I will be accompanying Newsquest senior directors, on visits around our regional offices, to provide an opportunity to meet with local management and staff, and acquaint themselves with the business.
“As directors, we believe this is a very positive move, both companies operate in separate markets and the merger provides a strong fit and significant growth opportunities.
“All parties involved are looking to make this transition as smooth as possible, and I trust that you will demonstrate the same level of professionalism and commitment as we continue to operate and drive the business forward.”