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July 14, 2017

New Sunday Independent owner expands reach with takeover of 11 West Country titles

By Freddy Mayhew

The new owner of the Sunday Independent, who saved the historic weekly paper from closure in April, has taken over eight local newspapers and three local magazines serving the West Country.

Businessman Peter Masters bought the Independent two weeks after it published its ‘last’ edition, with the paper having struggled under debts in excess of £250,000 that have since been restructured.

He has now expanded his operations by acquiring the View From series of papers, which serve Dorset, Devon and Somerset, and Experience magazines from owners Capital Media Newspapers.

The titles are produced in Lyme Regis, West Dorset, with a team of 31 people – including about 18 editorial staff – with no plans for any redundancies, Masters told Press Gazette.

He said the move would help to expand the Sunday Independent’s reach in Dorset and improve the design of the paper, adding: “Where they are strong we are weak on the Sunday Independent and vice versa. Across the board it gives us a lot of ammunition to go forwards.”

Masters, who is chairman and co-owner of Truro City Football Club, said in a statement: “These are extremely exciting times for the View From group and the Sunday Independent as we work on plans to deliver even better quality, value and ideas for their readers.

“I and all the dedicated staff at both titles believe in the future of print newspapers as the heart of their communities, where people can share their successes, their challenges, their events, their joys and criticisms.

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“Both will have a vibrant web presence delivering news and sport updates and digital platforms for advertisers to reach these communities – but we all also believe that nothing beats sitting down with a paper that covers your community or your sphere of interest and reading all the things you can’t find on the internet.”

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