Bhaskar Group has recently taken over Gujarati daily Saurashtra Samachar, the leading newspaper of the Saurashtra region.
Girish Agarwal, director, marketing, Dainik Bhaskar, says, "We found Saurashtra Samachar to be a highly rated Gujarati newspaper that would add-value to our publication and when the opportunity of taking over Saurashtra Samachar came to us, we just availed it."
The deal was worth Rs 7 crore, Agarwal says, adding that Bhaskar Group will be spending an additional Rs 3-4 crore on revamping the infrastructure and printing machines.
For Pratap Bhai Shah, owner and editor of Saurashtra Samachar, the reason behind selling the newspaper brand was not linked with profitability. Instead, it was prompted by the concern about an uncertain future, due to growing competition.It was learnt that the proposal of a buy-out had come from the Saurashtra Samachar management.
The Bhaskar Group, on the other hand, felt that by buying out Saurashtra Samachar and a simultaneous launch of a Baroda edition of Divya Bhaskar, the publication group will reach out to entire Gujarat. The Baroda edition is scheduled to be launched on September 11, with an initial print run of 2.5 lakh copies.
"With our greater reach across Gujarat, we will be able to provide another platform to our advertisers in the state," Agarwal adds.
On the issue of whether a change in management will also see editorial changes in the recently acquired newspaper, Agarwal said, the basic style of content will remain the same. Pratap Bhai Shah will continue as the editor of the Saurashtra Samachar, he says.
"However, we plan to increase the number of pages and also improve the quality of lay-out and printing."
However, the marketing team of Saurashtra Samachar will be restructured and Divya Bhaskar's marketing team will be henceforth calling the shots.
Industry experts say that as a result of the acquisition, Saurashtra Samachar will benefit from Bhaskar Group's formidable editorial and organisational standards. The group's extensive news network, its ultra-modern printing capacity, and its diverse media specialisations are expected to contribute in significantly enriching Saurashtra Samachar.
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