29th October 2003
Express & Star bought Guernsey Press
Guernsey Press has had several names and several owners over the years. It was founded in 1897 as the Guernsey Evening Press. In 1951 it bought the Guernsey Star and changed its title to the Guernsey Evening Press and Star.
In 1999 its publisher, The Guernsey Press Company, merged with Jersey-based Guiton, the family firm that published the Jersey Evening Post. Guiton had been one-third owned by the Wolverhampton-based Claverley Group since 1975 and, when the Guiton family wanted to sell up, Claverley Group bought the remaining shares, giving it complete ownership of both papers.
The Guiton family had become involved in newspapers just a few weeks after the Jersey Evening Post had launched. The paper had been founded by HP Butterworth, who used Walter Guiton as his printer. Seeing an opportunity, Guiton bought the title and it remained in his family until 2003.
Speaking to the BBC shortly before the sale, Guiton Group chairman Frank Walker said that there were “very heavy and strong emotional links [to the paper] not just for me but for other members of my family. We are conscious of the fact that my family has been involved in the Guiton Group since its inception…”
However, the board recognised that Claverley Group’s offer was a good one and recommended to its shareholders that they voted to accept. Guiton Group was, at the time, listed on the AIM sub-market of the London Stock Exchange. This market is where smaller companies are traded.
Claverley Group had offered 280p per share for the company, valuing Guiton at £76m. The offer represented a premium of 30% on the value of the shares at the time it made the offer.
The sale was completed the following year.