Tindle buys Somerset weekly

Brian Doel, pictured above left with Sir Ray Tindle, has been appointed group managing director of td. He has been managing part of the Tindle group in the South West and Wales as a regional director for more than 16 years.

Sir Ray Tindle has snapped up the Somerset-based weekly the Radstock & Midsomer Norton Journal only days after the competition minister refused permission for the Northcliffe group to buy it.

Within hours of the announcement by minister Gerry Sutcliffe that he was refusing permission for the Northcliffe deal because of the strength of their titles in the Bristol and Bath area, the Tindle group reached an agreement with Journal owners George Donkin and Steve Shipley.

Accountants and lawyers then worked over the weekend to produce the contracts and the 14,000-copy free distribution Journal was added to the Tindle portfolio of more than 130 newspaper titles in England and Wales.

Donkin, who is continuing to run the Journal company, said: "After weeks and weeks of discussions with Northcliffe and reaching agreement with them, it came as a bombshell to be told that the sale couldn't go ahead. We and the staff were devastated.

"Then, on the same day as the minister's announcement, Tindle group managing director Brian Doel rang me and we met to agree a new deal. I visited one of the Tindle centres in Somerset and found them dedicated to running local community newspapers, so we were more than happy to sign up."

Tindle said: "We are delighted that the Journal has come on board. We are always on the lookout for new acquisitions and opportunities for launches and this newspaper, with its 24-year history of serving the local community, fits in well with our policy.

"The minister's decision was harsh and could have had unfortunate consequences on the Journal and its staff. Northcliffe are honourable and would not have misused their ownership. With the Journal we will continue our relationship with Northcliffe in the spirit of friendly competition."

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