AddThis SmartLayers

Three bidders vie for control of local newspaper group

Peter MastersThree rival bidders will compete to take over a group of local newspapers, their current owner has revealed.

Peter Masters has confirmed to HTFP he has whittled down a shortlist after 11 different parties expressed a desire to take over the Cornwall-based ‘Voice’ series before Monday’s deadline.

Mr Masters, pictured, announced his intention to sell the titles last month with a plea for a larger publisher than his company, Independent Media, to take them on.

Speaking to HTFP, Mr Masters said there had been a “fantastic response” to his appeal.

He said: “I’ve very conscious of who we’re going to get in bed with but I’m very confident any one of them is the right party.

“I’m confident a sale will take place on or close to 31 July.”

The Voice, published each Wednesday, currently has eight editions covering Bodmin, Camborne & Redruth, Liskeard, Newquay, Penzance, Saltash, St Austell and Truro.

They are run by nine full-time and three part-time staff, who all work remotely.

Mr Masters says he has now shared a business plan with the three shortlisted bidders which proposes a potential expansion of up to 15 titles, and has drawn up non-disclosure contracts prior to undertaking further due diligence on the interested parties.

He has also received separate expressions of interest for two other Independent Media titles that are currently on hiatus – the historic Sunday Independent, which was first published in 1808, and regional magazine Cornwall Today.

Mr Masters added: “It’s all positive and we’re carrying on doing our bit.

“I’m keeping our employees informed as best I can as to what’s going on.

“We will still continue publishing in the event that we don’t sell, but I’m hoping we can complete a sale because I believe they will thrive under a bigger organisation.”