Oil tycoon Locke backs local newspaper venture

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SCOTTISH oil tycoon Alasdair Locke has emerged as one of the backers of tabloid veteran David Montgomery’s latest media venture.

Locke, who pocketed nearly £120 million from the sale of Aberdeen-based Abbot Group in 2007, is an investor in Local World which has brought together publishers Northcliffe, formerly owned by Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), and Iliffe News & Media.

The group owns local papers across England and Wales 
including the Cambridge News, Hull Daily Mail and Leicester Mercury.

As well as Locke and Montgomery, investors in the 
venture include DMGT and TrinityMirror, owner of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail in Scotland.

Locke is a former chairman of Mecom, the pan-European newspaper publisher which Montgomery founded 12 years ago and which he left in 2011.

The Scottish businessman also left Mecom shortly after the departure of Montgomery, a former editor of the News Of The World and chief executive of Mirror Group.

Last month the Office of Fair Trading cleared the deal to create Local World with the decision-maker in the case, Chris Walters, saying he hoped it would “assist businesses considering future transactions in local newspaper markets”.

There have been a number of deals involving regional newspapers in the UK and overseas in recent months. 
Investment guru Warren Buffett has been one of the most active buyers in the sector, acquiring 63 dailies and weeklies in the United States in May.