Tindle adds oldest regional Sunday to family portfolio

Tindle Newspapers is buying the Plymouth-based Sunday Independent, the oldest regional Sunday newspaper in England and Wales.

Contracts have been exchanged with the current owner, Newsquest, for the deal to be completed within the next few weeks.

The paper, first published in 1808 as The Dock Telegraph, recently launched four subsidiary titles, Plymouth Independent, Devon Independent, Cornwall Independent and Bristol & Somerset Independent. It has an ABC of 27,630.

Tindle Newspapers chairman Sir Ray Tindle said he and group managing director Brian Doel were “highly delighted” with the purchase and thanked Paul Davidson, Newsquest’s chairman and chief executive, and finance director Paul Hunter for the way negotiations were conducted.

Davidson said: “The Sunday Independent is joining a great stable of titles. I am sure it will enjoy an excellent future with Tindle and we wish them every success.”

Both Tindle and Doel have been shareholders in the Sunday Independent in the past. They were involved when the title was bought from Mirror Group Newspapers in 1982 when it had been the core title of the MGN journalist training scheme Among journalists trained under the scheme were David Montgomery, who went on to edit the News of the World and became chief executive of MGN, and Alastair Campbell, until recently the Prime Minister’s director of communications.

Tindle and Doel said they were anxious to renew their contact with such an historic and respected newspaper.

They were joint owners until the title went to Yattendon, in 1989, before being sold to Southern Newspapers, later part of Newscom, which in turn was taken over by Newsquest.

The two said they looked forward to meeting the staff, some of whom they already knew, as soon as legalities were completed.

Tindle Newspapers, one of the last family newspaper businesses, runs more than 150 papers, many of which are more than 100 years old.

In the West Country it has 80 newspaper titles, including 12 monthlies launched in the past four months.

By Jon Slattery

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