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Johnston Press completes £4.25m sale of three Isle of Man titles to Tindle Newspapers

By Freddy Mayhew

Johnston Press has completed the £4.25m sale of three newspapers covering the Isle of Man to local publisher Tindle Newspapers.

The Isle of Man Examiner and the Isle of Man Courier, both established in the 1880s, and the Manx Independent, founded in 1987, as well as their joint news website iomtoday.co.im, have been sold.

In a statement Johnston Press said the deal is “in line with the group’s previously stated divestment strategy to align resources to brands and geographies offering the greatest growth opportunities”.

It added that proceeds from the sale were will “support the company’s on-going investment in preferred markets”.

Isle of Man Newspapers Limited recorded a profit before tax of £598,000 for the year ended 31 December 2015 and had gross assets of £1.78m at that date.

Ashley Highfield, chief executive officer of Johnston Press, said: “This [deal] is further progress in executing our divestment strategy and allows the group to realise immediate value from our Isle of Man assets.”

Family-owned Tindle Newspapers adds the three titles to their portfolio of some 220 titles, many of which are between a 100 and 200 years old.

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Owner and founder Sir Ray Tindle told Press Gazette last month, when the deal was announced, that he was “delighted” to be acquiring the three publications.

“Buying a profitable local weekly set-up such as the Isle of Man trio is certainly a departure from our early days when, without much cash, we mostly bought papers that were in trouble, or we had to launch them ourselves,” he said.

Press Gazette was told there no plans to make any changes to editorial staff in the short term.

In 2007 Tindle Newspapers bought 27 weekly London titles from Trinity Mirror in an £18.75m deal, including the South London Press, Yellow Advertiser series, Streatham Post, Mitcham Post, Bexley Mercury, Barnet Press, Enfield Advertiser and Enfield Gazette.

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