One of the country's most successful independent publishers, Barry Colman, has sold his flagship title, the National Business Review, to his current chief executive, Todd Scott, for an undisclosed sum.

Colman bought the ailing masthead from Fairfax 24 years ago for $1, but the latest transaction is based on a restored product, which has grown online revenues in part by successfully implementing paywalls for exclusive content.

Colman told BusinessDesk he had been "in negotiation with Westpac and Todd for a number of weeks on the succession plan. I can't give you the details of the transaction, but it's a commercial transaction."

NBR readership figures show its audience split roughly 50/50 between 52,000 readers of the weekly print edition and some 55,000 monthly unique browsers, an undisclosed number of whom pay subscription fees for access to pay-walled material.


BusinessDesk understands the NBR masthead is carried in the company's books at a value in excess of $30 million.

In a statement on the NBR website, Colman said it would be "business as usual", with all current staff retained, but with Scott taking full control of the online and print publications, while he would retain some niche publications, including the legal newsletter, The Capital Letter.

The 65-year-old Colman will remain a consultant to the company.

Scott joined NBR in 2008 to implement its online business strategy, from a career in radio and television, and became chief executive in 2010.