Newsquest acquires 29 more newspapers as it buys Greenock Telegraph publisher Romanes

UK regional press giant Newsquest has acquired Romanes Media Group, one of the larger independent local newspaper publishers.

Romanes is based in Scotland and publishes 19 paid-for weekly newspapers, nine free titles and one daily, the Greenock Telegraph in Scotland, which has a circulation of 11,264, according to ABC.

Romanes titles include the Dunbarton Reporter, Dunfermline Press, Alloa Advertiser and Carrick Herald in Scotland. It also publishes the Impartial Reporter in Northern Ireland and eight titles in Berkshire, England, including: the Reading Chronicle, Reading Midweek, Bracknell News and the Observer in Slough.

Romanes Media Group was created by a management buyout of Dunfermline Press in 2012. The management team took a 10 per cent stake in the company, with Lloyds Bank taking the remaining 90 per cent in exchange for writing off £25m of debt.

Dunfermline Press paid Trinity Mirror £10m for its Berkshire titles in 2007.

Newsquest does not currently publish newspapers in Berkshire, however it has a strong presense in surrounding counties. Newsquest publishes the Herald and Times Group in Glasgow and no titles Northern Ireland.

Because the two groups do not overlap, the deal looks unlikely to attract problems with the competition authorities.

Newsquest remains the second largest UK regional newspaper publisher following the acquisition. The deal gives Newsquest 215 regional newspaper titles in total: 20 dailies, 81 paid-for weeklies and 100 weekly frees.

Romanes employs some 270 staff and was founded in 1859 as the Dunfermline Press.

Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker said the new “portfolio of good quality weekly titles provides a strong fit with plenty of opportunity”.

Asked whether the acquisition will raise any regulatory issues, Faure Walker told Press Gazette: ""We operate in separate markets so we don't envisage any issues from a competition regulator perspective."

US-owned Newsquest is currently facing strike ballots in London and Yorkshire in protest at redundancies and restructures.

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