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US investors take stake in Romanes Media Group

SOME of Scotland's most famous local newspapers have attracted two giant US financial institutions as their major shareholder, writes Simon Bain.

Romanes Media Group, created last year from the administration of Dunfermline Press, publishes 32 titles including the Greenock Telegraph, East Lothian Courier, Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, and Helensburgh Advertiser, and runs 30 websites.

It has acquired a shareholder in the shape of £18 billion investment bank Goldman Sachs, alongside Texas Pacific, which has investments of £34bn.

The investors bought out Lloyds Banking Group, which took an 85% stake in a debt for equity swap, though retaining under 20% of voting rights, when Dunfermline Press emerged from a pre-pack administration last April.

Romanes Media Group, named after former Dunfermline Press owner Deirdre Romanes who died in 2010, began with £18 million of debt.

Managing director Graham Morrison said: "This is a positive move, one where the majority shareholder shares our aim of investing in our businesses, with a view to strengthening the company, growing our platforms, securing jobs and driving the business forward."

He staged the buyout with former Dunfermline Press director Graham Faulds and non-executive chair John Allwood.

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