Free Press and Guardian owner buys more titles

Iliffe Media chairman Edward Iliffe.
Iliffe Media chairman Edward Iliffe.
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Iliffe Media, publishers of the Spalding Guardian and Lincolnshire Free Press, has acquired the entire shareholding of Ken’t leading indepedent publisher, KM Media Group, which publishes nine paid-for and four free newspapers, including the Kent Messenger Series, the current Regional Press Awards Newspaper of the Year, and the Kentish Gazette, established in 1717.

The newspapers are among the UK’s biggest-selling weekly titles with a heritage stretching back 300 years.

In addition to a strong newspaper heritage, KM Media Group publishes, which has an audience of 2.4m unique users, and operates the kmfm radio network and will soon be broadcasting on television through a joint initiative with the University of Kent.

The deal represents the latest stage in the expansion of Iliffe Media, following the launch of the Cambridge Independent last year and the acquisition of 13 titles – including the Free Press and Guardian – from Johnston Press earlier this year.

Iliffe Media chairman Edward Iliffe said: “We very much look forward to working with the management group at KM and continuing to evolve their trusted brands through investing in journalism and producing quality publications, websites and broadcast content that will be engaging to readers, listeners, viewers and advertisers alike.”

David Fordham, a non-executive director of Iliffe Media, led the deal process and will join the board of KM Media Group. He said: “This further demonstrates Edward Iliffe’s personal belief and commitment in the future of local media.”