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Independent weeklies put up for sale as owner goes into administration

Two sister weeklies have been put up for sale after the coronavirus crisis forced their owner to go into administration.

George Boyden & Son Ltd, publisher of the 160-year-old Stratford Herald and free sister title Midweek, has made the move due to a combination of factors including a collapse in advertising and sales revenues during the pandemic.

The company, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, has also cited the continuing financial burden of its historic pension fund deficit as a reason for taking the step.

At least seven editorial jobs could be under threat as a result of the move unless the titles now find a buyer.

The move was announced inside today's edition of the Herald

The move was announced inside today’s edition of the Herald

The administration is being handled by joint administrators Nigel Price and Joe Sadler, of Elwell Watchorn & Saxton, who launched a call for potential buyers in today’s edition.

Mr Price said: “It is extremely sad to see this highly respected newspaper, which has provided a valuable service to the local community for 160 years, facing such a threat to its existence.

“We believe that its publications can represent a financially viable venture for a new owner and invite any parties who are interested to discuss the opportunity with us to contact us by email at”

As well as the Herald and Midweek, George Boyden & Son Ltd also publishes a monthly local interest magazine called Focus.

Editor Richard Howarth said: “We have continued to produce the Herald through a period when we have faced the same difficulties as so many other businesses in the area.

“We know people have been incredibly appreciative of how we have helped to keep our readers connected and will no doubt join us in hoping this step, though a shock to all involved, will see an outcome that ensures the Herald continues to be at the heart of the community for many years to come.”

The decision to go into administration was taken by the company’s board on Friday.

Representative of the family Richard Boyden said: “The principal reason for this step is the burden of the historic pension deficit, which had increased beyond the resources of a small, independent, family-owned firm.

“We are so grateful to all our readers and advertisers over many generations for their support.”

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.