Newsquest Takes Stake in Freeserve Auctions

England’s largest regional newspaper publisher
Newsquest plc announced
this week that it is to make a strategic investment in
Freeserve Auctions Ltd.

In exchange for a 9.9 per cent shareholding, Newsquest will
inject £2 million ($3.3 million) in cash, plus £10 million
($16.4 million) in advertising support.

Most significantly, Newsquest will stop using its AuctionHunter brand
name for auctions, which means one less rival for Freeserve in
a very competitive market.

“The merger of the AuctionHunter and the Freeserve Auctions sites
will significantly enhance the value and reach of Freeserve Auctions’
brand,” confirmed John Pluthero, chief executive officer of Freeserve.

Freeserve is enlarging the share capital of Freeserve Auctions to
accommodate the newcomer. After the transaction, Freeserve will
have 72.1 per cent, with
holding the remaining 18 per cent.

Jim Brown, executive chairman of Newsquest was very bullish about
the deal.

“For some time Newsquest-Gannett has been progressing a UK auction
site but this opportunity to link with Freeserve is a huge leap forward,”
said Brown.

Among Newsquest’s newspaper titles are the Evening Argus and
The Northern Echo, plus around 180 other with a total circulation
of five million copies.

One of Newsquest’s most ambitious online ventures is its 20
“This Is…” digital community sites, such as
This Is Essex
and This Is Oxfordshire.

Newsquest’s advertising support of Freeserve Auctions will include
auction listings in classified advertising sections, together
with other brand marketing.

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