Newbury Weekly News has been acquired by Edward Iliffe, of the Iliffe newspaper dynasty, and publishing magnate Peter Fowler under a new joint venture.
The deal was confirmed yesterday (1 May) and sees the title come under the ownership of newly incorporated company Newbury News and Media, which was formed by Iliffe and Fowler.
In turn, Newbury News and Media is intended to be integrated within Iliffe’s own publishing company, Iliffe Media Group, which owns a wide portfolio of local titles. Newbury Weekly News ran its own printing operation in West Berkshire, but it shut down its printing operations last year and moved printing to Iliffe’s print wing in Cambridge last year.
The new deal makes Iliffe Media Group responsible for Newbury Weekly’s three longstanding titles: free weekly The Newbury and Thatcham Advertiser, quarterly magazine Out & About and website Newburytoday. Since it was founded in 2016, the group has acquired titles from Johnston Press and KM Media Group, as well as the Newark Advertiser.
Edward Iliffe said: “We are delighted to have concluded the acquisition of this well-respected local newspaper.
“Iliffe Media, with its long heritage as an independent family-run media business, believes in the future of local newspaper publishing across all platforms and we now look forward to working in a positive way with our new colleagues and the communities they serve.”
Serving the local West Berkshire area since 1867, Newbury Weekly News also began taking up contract print work from other titles to bring in further revenue in the 1970s, running most recently a Goss Universal 70 colour web offset press as well as two Goss Uniliners, a Tolerans stitcher and a Schur high-speed inserter.
Now its printing is handled by Iliffe Print, which offers services including full-colour tabloid newspaper printing from four to 192 pages, leaflet and magazine insertion, trimming, stitching and mailing.
Newbury Weekly News chief executive James Gurney said: “Newbury Weekly News is a successful and much-loved title and Edward Iliffe lives right here in Yattendon, in the heart of West Berkshire. I am delighted that the paper will remain independent.
“Over the past 10 years the industry has become increasingly challenging for smaller independently owned local newspaper publishers.
“The completion of this deal will allow us to plug into a larger group where there are opportunities to share resources and ideas, as well as to invest in exciting new initiatives that will help ensure we continue to engage with the local community, producing exceptional content that covers our entire diverse area.”
Newbury Weekly News turned over £2.2m in accounts made up to 31 December 2018.