Womble Bond Dickinson has advised CN Group on its sale to Newsquest Media Group. CN Group, which traces its roots in Cumbria back over 200 years, runs print, digital and event brands covering Cumbria, Northumberland, North Lancashire and the Scottish Borders through several award-winning publications including the News & Star, Cumberland News, Times & Star, In Cumbria, The Whitehaven News and the Hexham Courant.
The sale follows a targeted marketing of the business which identified Newsquest as the preferred buyer, and follows the sale in November 2017 of CN Group's local radio stations, The Bay and Lakeland Radio, to Global Radio, a transaction on which Womble Bond Dickinson also advised.
The team at Womble Bond Dickinson was led by Corporate Partner Jamie Pass and included a large team including corporate lawyers Ben Butler, Iain Pritty, Oliver Rickett and Anna McGill, tax partner Jeremy Smith and Martin Poore and Naomi Jacques from the firm's pensions team.
The sale to Newsquest was structured as a recommended offer made to CN Group's shareholders. The transaction saw the interests of CN Group's final salary pension scheme members protected through mergers of those schemes into Newsquest's own defined benefit pension scheme.
Jamie Pass, Corporate Partner, commented:
"Womble Bond Dickinson has had a close working relationship with CN Group for over 20 years. I am extremely pleased that we have been able to assist the board in securing its future and in achieving this successful exit for the company's shareholders. This transaction is a good example of our commitment to working with clients across Cumbria and the wider North of England."
Miller Hogg, outgoing CEO of CN Group, commented:
"We have been very impressed with the team at Womble Bond Dickinson and their resources and expertise have been evident throughout the sale process. Their handling of both the radio and publishing sales has been excellent and it has been good to work with a team who both understood our business and are committed to our region. This deal will provide a sustainable future for our Cumbrian based business with a media partner capable of investing for the print and digital world we live in."