Newsquest has suspended the launch of a rival newspaper to the closure-threatened Cumberland and Westmorland Herald after a buyer was found for the 160-year-old title this week.
Press Gazette understands staff were told about the buyer, a local private businessman from the Eden area of Cumbria, at about 5pm yesterday but that he wishes to remain anonymous at this stage.
Administrators KPMG confirmed a transaction was underway, but said it has not yet concluded and would not comment further.
Herald editor Emily Atherton told Press Gazette nothing had been “signed and sealed” yet, but the team was “hoping for some very positive news”.
The Herald was forced to appoint administrators this month as an increasing deficit in its defined benefits pension scheme added to “longstanding pressures” facing regional print newspapers, but it remains in print.
The Penrith-based weekly title employs 20 staff members, having made six employees redundant with immediate effect when it went into administration on 3 February.
Newsquest announced yesterday it planned to launch a rival weekly title called the Cumberland and Westmorland Gazette “in the absence of certainty” around the historic paper’s future.
The paper was to be priced 20p cheaper than the Herald along with an accompanying website.
A spokesperson for Newsquest Cumbria said today the launch has been “suspended” after hearing the Herald had been saved.
Newsquest already publishes the Cumberland News, and the Westmorland Gazette on the same patch, with 34 reporters in Cumbria. It had promised to create new jobs with the new launch.
It also owns daily the Carlisle News and Star, having bought out CN Group in 2018.