Sir Ray Tindle is selling a number of his titles in London and Dorset to the current managers.
The View From series and Pulman's Weekly News, South London Press, the Mercury, and recently-launched London Weekly News titles in central London are involved in the deal.
They will be acquired by South London Press managing director Karen Sheppard, editor Hannah Walker and View From series founder Philip Evans.
Tindle, 89, said the deal does not signal his retirement and that he continues to own nearly 200 titles around the UK. In a statement Tindle said: "The sale is to ensure the long life of the papers which include some of the oldest in the country."
The South London Press celebrated its 150th anniversary last year with a party on HMS Belfast.
Tindle will retain 10 per cent of the new group, Capital Media Newspapers, with Walker, Evans and Sheppard each taking 30 per cent.
Philip Evans said: "Having managed local newspapers in London earlier in my career, I am looking forward to the challenge of working alongside Karen and Hannah in continuing to build our stable of titles in the capital as well as retaining my Dorset links with Pulman’s Weekly News and the View From series, which I launched in 2005. All three of us share Sir Ray’s undeviating faith in the future of local newspapers and we are excited by the opportunity he has given us and the talented staff we will lead.”
Walker, who has edited the South London Press for 16 years, said: " It’s always been a huge privilege editing these papers in South London and now to have the chance to steer them further to a healthy future is a huge challenge and opens up yet another new era for these fantastic titles and the brilliant staff that work for them."
Tindle told South London Press staff in person about the move confidentially a week ago.
He said: "As you know, I’ve been in local papers all my life. I started during the war when I was in the Army. I launched, with others, a daily newspaper (printed on a duplicator) on a troopship going to the Far East – a five week voyage (that five weeks was the sum total of my newspaper experience until I returned to Civvy Street).
"The first local papers I bought cost very little as they were failing and had to be put right. I had no money so this was the only way. At this moment I have shares in well over 400 local papers, owning about half of them outright.
"Even now I don’t intend to retire. I shall continue with Vice Chairman Wendy Craig to run almost the entire Tindle Newspaper Group but I must, this year, start to make changes so that all the papers will continue in good hands for many years ahead.
"Some reorganisation is necessary even though Wendy and I intend to live forever! My son, Owen, has his own successful business which he launched from scratch just as I did.
"He will inherit the newspaper group which he helped me to found but it needs to be of a size and shape so that he and Wendy can cope without affecting Owen’s business."
All of the titles involved in the sale have taken steps to move towards "hyper-local" publishing. The South London Press has split into nine local editions and the Mercury series into six. The View From series also publishes numerous local editions.
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