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Newsquest proposed acquisition of CN Group

CARLISLE-based CN Group is set to be bought by Newsquest Media Group, bringing an end to the independent publisher's ownership by the family that has run the company for four generations.

The sale is expected to be completed shortly after the shareholder meeting on 9 March, subject to shareholder approval.

The Board said that it had taken the decision to end its independence because it believes that the long term future of the group, its staff and its pensioners, is better protected as part of a larger, scaled operation.

"A member of my family has run this company for the past four generations so this sale is the end of an era and is tinged with sadness," said CN Group chairman Robin Burgess.

"However, our ability to prosper as a medium-sized independent group, in light of digital and social media developments, has become increasingly difficult and it is clear that the challenges will only get harder," he said.

"Faced with these and other issues, including the pension deficit, we came to the conclusion that a sale of the publishing business is the best way forward for all our stakeholders. We are confident that under new ownership the group's titles and sites will continue to serve their communities as they have in the past."

CN Group's stable of publications includes the News & Star, the Cumberland News, Hexham Courant, The Whitehaven News and Cumbria Life. Its two local radio stations, The Bay and Lakeland Radio, were sold to Global Radio in the autumn following a targeted marketing of the business.

CN Group CEO Miller Hogg said it was "vitally important for a local media company like CN to be part of a larger and committed regional media group like Newsquest".

He added: "We still remain a local company with local brands serving the local community. This deal will provide certainty for our local staff for a sustainable future and with a media group capable of investing for the print and digital world we live in."

Newsquest CEO Henry Faure Walker commented: "We look forward to the opportunity of working with the CN Group, its staff and the community it represents in building on their great local brands and publishing expertise, and helping them forge a strong future.

"We will endeavour to support them with the scale and resources that Newsquest can provide, whilst enabling them to carry on what they have done so well for many years – namely providing first class content and advertising solutions for the people and businesses of Cumbria and the wider region."

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