The ranks of newspaper millionaires swelled yesterday as two family- owned businesses were snapped up by bigger rivals. The Bailey family, headed by Peter Bailey, the group's chairman, will share pounds 35m after their Gloucestershire business was bought by Southern Newspapers. Martyn Williams, commercial director, and Nick Priest, finance director who both married Bailey women, will also become millionaires. Bill Gibbs and his family stand to make almost pounds 20m from the pounds 52m sale of Home Counties Newspapers to Johnston Press.
The deals confirm the rapid consolidation in the regional newspaper market in the past few years. The next big sale will be United News and Media's regional newspaper interests.
Tim Bowdler, chief executive of Johnston Press, said: "This is a continuation of the consolidation of a very fragmented industry. We are looking for more acquisitions." Home Counties produces titles such as the Hampstead and Highgate Express and the Ilford and Romford Recorders and the deal complements Johnston's existing titles in Southern England.