Western Mail rival takes shape but 'unrealistic' launch date delays project

By Clive Betts

The group of Welsh businessmen who plan to launch a rival to
Cardiff’s Western Mail in response to what they claim is its
down-marketing have already gained commitments for £1m in seed capital
and eventually intend a public flotation.

But the original 1 March – St David’s Day – launch date next year has been postponed as “unrealistic”.

of the project, aimed at the ABC1 market and given the Welsh Globe
working title, are remaining tight-lipped about almost all details
toavoid giving information to their Trinity Mirror opponent.

A senior figure said: “There will be little surprise about the delay in launch.

The original date was publicised with regard to its significance within Wales, rather than its importance in newspaper terms.”

is seen as a better start date, certainly in consumer advertising
terms. As important, however, is likely to be the amount of time it
takes for larger investors to maximise their tax opportunities.

However, the identity of investors ofthe unquantified “several millions” needed is being kept under wraps.

The spark for the project was the Western Mail’s decision to go – in the eyes of the new group – down-market.

charge of raising the cash, which is likely to come mainly from Welsh
sources, is Gambit Corporate Finance, of Cardiff. Confirmed as managing
director is Chris Pitson, former finance director of the Trinity Mirror
Cardiff operation. Peter Jones, the former Western Mail deputy editor
who was named as launch editor, was still refusing to comment.The
project was conceived and is being led by businessman Chris Thomas, son
of Welsh rugby international, Clem, who later made a name for himself
in broadsheet sports journalism.

The second planned new Welsh
daily, Y Byd, has still to give a launch date, although the original
was early this year. This group is understood to be slowly approaching
its target of number of financial supporters and subscribers.

Both papers are said to have been eying the same printing press – the South Wales Argus in Newport.

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