Sunday newspaper group is sold off

It was inevitable, says founder Branston

LSN Media, the newspaper publishing group which produces free Sunday titles across Bedfordshire, has been snapped up by a growing media firm.

LSN, founded in 1977 and publishers of Bedfordshire on Sunday and Luton on Sunday as well as other titles, is becoming part of Iliffe News & Media, which also controls the Cambridge Evening News and other local titles.

The company was created by entrepreneur and journalist Frank Branston, who stepped back from day to day control in 2002 when he was elected Mayor of Bedford.

David Fordham, the group publishing director of the trust which owns Iliffe, said that the deal was a logical extension to the firm's operations in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.

Frank Branston, who owned 88 per cent of the company with wife Marlies, said: "We don't have the makings of a Branston newspaper dynasty. I have two daughters - one a lawyer and one who likes travelling around, and it was inevitable that sooner or later I would have to sell. I never made a

secret of that.

"Obviously I am sad, but I think the company is going to a good home and one with a reputation for letting local management get on with it.

"It also means editorial staff in particular have a route into an evening paper within the same group.

Mr Branston said he was prevented by the terms of the deal from revealing the amount he had made by selling his shares.

The acquisition moves Ilifee News & Media one of the 10 largest regional newspaper publishers in the country,