Newsquest bids to buy out Isle of Wight County Press as shareholders told to accept offer

Newsquest has made a takeover bid for the Isle of Wight County Press, with shareholders in the independently-owned news publisher being advised to accept the offer.

Board members at the County Press are said to have been advised that the deal from Newsquest is a “fair one and one that properly reflects the value of the group”, according to a report on its website.

The publisher produces the weekly Isle of Wight County Press newspaper, as well as its associated website, and an “alternative” news website for the island called Yoppul, which was highly recommended in the Digital Award category at this year’s Society of Editors’ Regional press Awards.

The County Press newspaper has an average weekly circulation of more than 25,000, according to ABC figures for the six months to December last year.

Robin Freeman, chief executive of the Isle of Wight County Press Group, said in a statement: “The board of the IWCP Group strongly believe that this is the best way forward for our group of companies.

“It provides access to the skills, knowledge and expertise that we need in order for us to be able to adapt and change the existing businesses to meet the opportunities and challenges of the new media landscape that we face.

“Newsquest is a very well-respected and highly professional group and I very much hope the next chapter of the CP’s life will be as part of its group.

“The directors are unanimous in recommending to shareholders that they accept the offer.

“These are exciting times for us all and, if approved, this arrangement will provide a sound future for the group’s excellent products and services.

“I strongly believe that it will be very good news for the local community, economy and for local democracy on the Isle of Wight.

“Newsquest is strongly committed to maintaining the editorial independence and integrity of the Isle of Wight County Press newspaper and special arrangements will be put in place to safeguard this if the offer is accepted by shareholders.

“Support for the local community is something that is also important to both companies and this will be maintained.”

Newsquest is the UK’s third largest regional news publisher in terms of the number of titles it owns – about 211.

Henry Faure Walker, Newsquest’s chief executive, said: “We look forward to the opportunity of working with the Isle of Wight County Press, its staff and the community it represents, in building on their success as one of the country’s strongest local news brands and helping them forge a strong and sustainable future.”

The shareholders’ decision is expected in about four weeks.

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