A Midland newspaper group which collapsed last month threatening 150 jobs has been sold – back to the original owner who took it into administration.
Observer Standard Newspapers, which called in the administrators on March 10, has been sold for an undisclosed sum to Bullivant Media, a company created by Chris Bullivant who was previously chairman of Observer Standard.
Bullivant Media was set up eight days after Observer Standard went into administration.
A spokesman for Grant Thornton, who acted as administrators for the firm, said the new company would continue to publish the nine titles it was publishing when it was taken into administration, which included the Redditch Standard and Solihull Observer.
Mr Bullivant, of Bullivant Media, said: “We are delighted to have achieved this purchase from the administrators, which allows us to continue to offer our local readers and advertisers an excellent service and product.”
John Whitfield, partner at Grant Thornton and joint administrators of Observer Standard Newspaper added: “We are pleased to have achieved a successful going concern: during the administration five editions of each of the nine titles owned by the Observer Standard were published, and all of the 150 strong workforce remained employed.”
The company called in the administrators after suffering a major decline in advertising in the region, particularly with regard to residential property advertising. The company had cut 20 per cent of its staff in November last year.
The Observer Standard was a family-owned business, with chairman Chris Bullivant, his wife Pat deputy chairman and son Chris junior, who was managing director since January, 2007.
The sale of Observer Standard comes after Press Gazette, the independent magazine for journalists, said its May edition is set to be the last issue after 43 years of publication.
The magazine, which was brought out of administration in 2006 by Wilmington Group, had suffered from a declining market.
The online edition of Press Gazette, once co-owned by Piers Morgan, will no longer offer the magazine’s content but Wilmington said it intended to develop the site as a resource for UK journalists.
Writing on his blog on the Press Gazette website, editor Dominic Ponsford said even an annual 50 per cent increase in web traffic, to as many as 150,000 unique users a month, had failed to restore the fortunes of the magazine.