Penningtons Manches’ corporate team has advised Newbury News and Media Ltd, a joint venture company formed by Edward Iliffe and Peter Fowler, on the acquisition of 152-year-old Newbury Weekly News. Cambridge corporate partner Helen Drayton led the Penningtons Manches team, principally assisted by Katharine Robinson and supported by Sarah Coates and Giorgia Clements in the real estate team, together with pensions expert Maria Riccio.
The purchase is a joint venture between Edward Iliffe and experienced publisher Peter Fowler under the umbrella of the newly-formed Newbury News and Media Ltd. It is intended to integrate the JV within Iliffe Media Group’s operations.
Iliffe Media Group was formed in September 2016 with the launch of the Cambridge Independent and over the past three years has completed a number of acquisitions including 13 titles from Johnston Press, the KM Media Group, and most recently the Newark Advertiser.
The family-owned Newbury Weekly News has served the community of West Berkshire since 1867 and incorporates the award-winning website newburytoday, free weekly newspaper The Newbury and Thatcham Advertiser and quality quarterly magazine Out & About. The Newbury Weekly News has been owned by the same family since its early beginnings and moved its printing to Iliffe Print Cambridge last year after it made the difficult decision to close its own press in Newbury.
Edward Iliffe, chief executive of the Iliffe Media Group, said: “We are delighted to have concluded the acquisition of these well-respected local newspapers. Iliffe Media, with its long heritage as an independent family-run media business, believes in the future of local newspaper publishing across all platforms and we now look forward to working in a positive way with our new colleagues and the communities they serve. I am also pleased to have the association with Peter Fowler in this new venture in Newbury. Peter has worked with the Iliffe family for many years and brings with him a wealth of publishing experience.”
Helen Drayton, corporate partner at Penningtons Manches commented: “Having previously acted for Iliffe Media Group in the acquisition of the Newark Advertiser, we are delighted to have supported Edward Iliffe and Peter Fowler on the acquisition of Newbury Weekly News."
The acquisition was overseen by media industry adviser David Fordham, who has worked on all of the Group’s previous acquisitions, and is also a non-executive director of Iliffe Media Ltd.
This deal is the latest in a series of high profile transactions undertaken by Penningtons Manches’ corporate team, which saw a 50% increase in the volume of transactions in 2018.