TNE invites readers to invest

Front pages from The New European
Invitation to invest. A variety of front pages from The New European promoting their offer for shares. Image © TNE

NB. This article includes details about an investment opportunity. Kent Bylines does not encourage investment in the business mentioned, but is reporting on it due to it being newsworthy to our audience.

In 2016, a couple of weeks after the appalling result of the EU referendum, the first edition of The New European appeared on the newsagents’ shelves. It was a cri-de-cœur from a journalist working at Archant in Norwich, called Matt Kelly. It was intended to be an ephemeron, a fly-by-night, published for four weeks only.

The value of your investment can go down as well as up

As the sixth anniversary of that fateful day passes, TNE, as it is affectionately known, surges from strength to strength. It has established itself as a powerful digital presence, while it also continues to produce a newsprint edition each week. Such is the effect of this growth that a consortium of what appear to be largely journalists, including Matt Kelly himself, bought the paper from Archant last year.

They are now inviting their readership to participate in enabling the journal’s success by buying shares.

The response has been stunning: within 48 hours of opening invitations the offering has attained more than 95% of its target of £500,000. And this from fewer than 600 investors of which I confess: I am one.

Other investments are available

Jaw-dropping though this success may be, it is far from unique. Last summer Chapel Down, which produces some prize-winning wines in Kent and Sussex, made a similar public offering, which was over-subscribed within days.

Chapel Down, the market leader in English wines, is pleased to announce the launch of a fundraising of up to £6.876 million (the “Fundraising”) at a price of 59.5 pence (the “Issue Price”) per new ordinary share of £0.05 each in the Company (“Ordinary Shares”).

No profit

An important feature of these investments is that they promise no dividend, nor can they be sold, other than in very particular circumstances. So, why risk your money? And, make no mistake, your money is at risk. As the investment platforms are at great pains to point out, the vast majority of start-ups, which these often are, fail, usually within the first year.

Still worth it

The motivation, and while I suspect that it is most frequently the case, I can only speak for myself, is a burning desire to see an undertaking flourish. Whether it is the expansion of the vineyards of the North Downs, or a weekly that is pan-European and pro-European in its scope, investors want to see it succeed.

And from the point of view of raising the capital, the proposal has indeed succeeded. In the relatively brief time in which I have been writing this article, the funds have risen from 75% of the £500 000 target to (currently) 115%. And there are still 20 days to go!

What’s special about TNE

In one sense TNE is not that far out of the ordinary. It is one of a collection of organs which have set out in recent years to counter the generally reactionary views of the ‘mainstream media’. Among them we can count this online newspaper and the Bylines Network to which it belongs. We must also include Byline Times, which publishes on paper once a month and was the original inspiration for the Bylines Network. And there are others.

Many of them, such as Bylines Network, seek funding by occasional or regular donations. TNE has adopted a different approach, one which speaks of confidence in the paper’s future. Those of us who have committed our cash to the venture can only wait now to see whether we shall ride high or sink without trace.