Last big independent free newspaper publisher sells out

By Jon Slattery
Bedfordshire on Sunday publisher LSN Media, one of the country’s last independent
free newspaper groups, has been sold to Iliffe News and Media.
LSN was founded by Frank Branston in 1977 with
the launch of Bedford on Sunday and since then the goup has launched
further free Sunday titles in Luton, Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard ,
North Hertfordshire and most recently Milton Keynes with the re-launch
midweek of the MK News.
Branston was elected Mayor of Bedford in 2002 and stepped back from day-to-day control of LSN.
Under his control the hard-hitting BoS won a
string of free newspaper awards for its reporting and won a reputation for
investigations. It has a total group distribution of around 350,000
copies per week.
David Fordham, group publishing drector of
Yattendon Investment Trust (which owns Iliffe News and Media) said:
“For some time we have been looking at opportunities to expand the
range of newspaper titles we publish. With our existing media interests
in Cambridge and Hertfordshire, the acquisition of LSN Media is a
logical extension of our existing activities and provides an excellent
fit with our other publications”.
Mike Richardson who has been chief excutive of
LSN Media since 2000 will continue to head up the LSN business in the
position of managing director.
The acquisition of LSN makes Iliffe News and
Media one of the 10 largest regional press publishers in the UK and the
fourth largest independent regional publisher.
The Yattendon Investment Trust is owned by the
Iliffe family and runs three regional newspaper publishing companies:
Cambridge Newspapers, Herts & Essex Newspapers and Staffordshire
Newspapers. It is also the major shareholder of Channel Television, the
ITV franchise for the Channel Islands.
Its titles include: the Cambridge Evening News
and Burton Daily Mail as well as six paid-for weekly newspapers, 17
free weeklies, nine glossy magazines and 23 related websites.
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