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Publisher ‘close to deal’ to save closure-threatened weekly

Carla LockhartA newspaper facing closure has been given a stay of execution amid “advanced” negotiations for a deal to save the title.

The Banbridge Chronicle previously announced it would cease publication this week following “commercial difficulties” during the coronavirus pandemic.

But now it has been reported that the Northern Irish weekly could be saved, with Scottish publisher DNG Media reported as being “close to a deal” to buy the paper.

DNG Media declined to comment on the claim when approached by HTFP, but Chronicle staff have been told the group is close to completing the legal work on an acquisition deal, according to the Irish News.

In a statement, the Chronicle’s directors told the News: “Negotiations for the sale of the newspaper are at an advanced stage.

“In the meantime the Banbridge Chronicle will continue to be published in the coming weeks.”

DNG publishes paid-for weeklies the Annandale Herald, the Moffat News and the Annadale Observer, while it also runs free title the Dumfries Courier.

Today’s edition of the paper, published by the Hodgett family, had been due to be the Chronicle’s last in its 151-year history.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart, pictured, told the News the acquisition bid was “hugely welcome news”.

She said: “It was a massive blow to learn the Chronicle was closing, so it’s great to know that this long-standing newspaper will remain in the town, and I look forward to working with its new owners in the future if the deal is completed.”