Texoma newspapers part of merger deal

Texoma newspapers part of merger deal

Texoma newspapers part of merger deal

Fortress Investment Group-backed New Media Investment Group said on Monday it will buy USA Today-owner Gannett Co.in a $1.4 billion deal, combining two of the biggest US daily newspapers.

Gannett and other newspaper companies have been cutting costs by reducing newsroom employees and closing printing facilities in recent years.

In addition to the Enquirer, Gannett's OH papers include the Chillicothe Gazette, Coshocton Tribune, Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, Loudonville Times, Mansfield News-Journal, Marion Star, Newark Advocate, Port Clinton News Herald and Zanesville Times Recorder.

New Media Investment Group is operated by its part-owner, SoftBank, through subsidiary Fortress Investment Group, which will continue to run the company through 2021. The combined company would have more than 260 daily papers in the US, along with more than 300 weeklies, or "more than one-sixth of all remaining daily newspapers", according to Nieman Lab.

GateHouse and Gannett share a steadfast commitment to journalism with impact.

Most recently, the Youngstown Vindicator, a locally owned OH paper, closed for good shortly after its 150th anniversary. Whatever the ownership structure of newspapers, so many of them have closed in recent years that there are at least 1,800 fewer newspapers in America than there were 2004, according to a study by the University of North Carolina. Newsroom employment fell by a quarter from 2008 to 2018, according to Pew Research, and layoffs have continued this year.

As longtime newspaper industry columnist Ken Doctor notes in his column on the transaction, "The merger of GateHouse and Gannett is not the checkered flag at the end of the race".

The $1.4 billion equity value is based on 116.7 million outstanding shares as of June 30.

Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at The Poynter Institute, said the merger could mount pressure on other media companies looking to cut costs and consolidate.

The combined company would take the Gannett name and keep its headquarters in Gannett's current home of McLean, Virginia.

"Both companies have had a hard year, with shares sliding 30 percent or more since a high in January".

It also increases pressure on other local newspaper owners, such as Tribune Publishing Co., Lee Enterprises Inc. and McClatchy Co., to find deals of their own.

After the merger closes, expected by the second half of 2019, New Media will hold about 50.5% stake in the combined company, to be led by Reed.

GateHouse operates 130 daily newspapers, including the Austin American-Statesman in Texas, The Palm Beach Post in Florida and the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio.

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