Johnston Press has sold off three newspapers covering the Isle of Man to rivals Tindle Newspapers in a deal worth £4.25m.
Set to change ownership are The Isle of Man Examiner and the Isle of Man Courier, both established in the 1880s, and the Manx Independent, founded in 1987.
Family-owned Tindle Newspapers adds the three titles to their portfolio of some 220 titles, many of which are between a 100 and 200 years old.
Owner and founder Sir Ray Tindle said he was “delighted” with the deal, adding: “Buying a profitable local weekly set-up such as the Isle of Man trio is certainly a departure from our early days when, without much cash, we mostly bought papers that were in trouble, or we had to launch them ourselves.
“We are unable to meet the whole of the staff until completion of the agreement takes place but I have asked [Johnston Press bosses] to convey to everyone that Vice Chairman Wendy Craig and I, and everyone at Tindle Newspapers, will make them all very welcome just as soon as we are able to do so.”
Press Gazette has been told there no plans to make any changes to editorial staff in the short term.
In 2007 the group bought 27 weekly London titles from Trinity Mirror in an £18.75m deal, including the South London Press, Yellow Advertiser series, Streatham Post, Mitcham Post, Bexley Mercury, Barnet Press, Enfield Advertiser and Enfield Gazette.
Tindle added: “The UK Press has had a few rough years but has a long future ahead. I can’t speak for anyone else but I am convinced that local weekly papers will be with us for a very long time.
“Everyone wants to read about their own community, and they want to read about it in depth. Local names, local faces and local places. That’s what we do, and that’s what makes local papers special within the newspaper industry.
“They are part of their communities, they are trusted and, in my opinion, will live forever.”