A family-owned weekly has been sold to a new joint venture company run by an existing newspaper publisher’s chief executive.
The Newbury Weekly News has announced its new owner is Newbury News and Media Ltd, which has been formed by Iliffe Media CEO Edward Iliffe, left, and publisher Peter Fowler, a director of Scottish Provincial Press.
It is intended to integrate the venture within Iliffe Media’s operations following the sale, which was formally completed today.
The deal also includes the Newbury Today website, free weekly the Newbury and Thatcham Advertiser and quarterly magazine Out & About.
The Weekly News, which was founded in 1867, had been owned by the same family since its early beginnings.
Newbury News Ltd chief executive James Gurney said: “The Newbury Weekly News is a successful and much-loved title and Edward Iliffe lives right here in Yattendon, in the heart of West Berkshire. I am delighted that the paper will remain independent.
“Over the past ten years the industry has become increasingly challenging for smaller independently owned local newspaper publishers. The completion of this deal will allow us to plug into a larger group where there are opportunities to share resources and ideas, as well as to invest in exciting new initiatives that will help ensure we continue to engage with the local community, producing exceptional content that covers our entire diverse area.”
Iliffe Media was formed in September 2016 with the launch of the Cambridge Independent and over the past three years has completed a number of acquisitions including 13 East of England titles bought from Johnston Press, the KM Media Group, and most recently the Newark Advertiser.
Edward Iliffe said: “We are delighted to have concluded the acquisition of this well-respected local newspaper.
“Iliffe Media, with its long heritage as an independent family-run media business, believes in the future of local newspaper publishing across all platforms and we now look forward to working in a positive way with our new colleagues and the communities they serve.
“I am also pleased to have the association with Peter Fowler in this new venture in Newbury. Peter has worked with the Iliffe family for many years and brings with him a wealth of publishing experience.”
The acquisition has been overseen by media industry adviser David Fordham, who has worked on all of the group’s previous acquisitions, and is also a non-executive director of Iliffe Media.