Newsquest has completed its takeover of the Isle of Wight County Press in the face of calls for the deal to be delayed while alternative management options are developed for the independent publisher.
Shareholders at the County Press voted unanimously to agree the buyout after they were told by the board of directors to accept Newsquest’s offer last month.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) called for a halt to the deal to give existing management to “develop a business plan and a long-term strategy”.
An Isle of Wight businessman also called for a delay while he developed a rival bid, saying the weekly newspaper, which was first published in 1884, is an “island institution” that would lose its affinity with the area if sold off to a “media giant”.
Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker said: “We’re looking forward to working with the Isle of Wight County Press staff, operating as they do one of the country’s strongest local news brands, and supporting them in building a more sustainable future.
“We want to facilitate a structure whereby they can benefit from the scale and resources that Newsquest can provide whilst enabling them to carry on doing what they do best – namely providing a first class and unrivalled local editorial and advertising platform for the people of the Isle of Wight and its businesses.”
The deal includes the takeover of print and digital titles, including alternative news website Yoppul, and specialist digital agency Matrix as well as commercial printing press Crossprint.
A number of the County Press board members will continue to serve on a Local Advisory Board.