“This decision was made after extensive deliberation by the Calkins family and the knowledge that our businesses could best thrive in a company with broader resources and reach,” said Mark Contreras, CEO of Calkins Media, according to a report by the Ellwood City Ledger.
The nearly 80-year-old family-owned company has sold off its newspaper assets. Five of its papers — including The Bucks County Courier Times, The Doylestown Intelligencer, The Beaver County Times,TheEllwood City Ledger and The Burlington County Times in New Jersey — will be bought by GateHouse Media.
GateHouse Media also acquired Calkins Digital, its online marketing service.
The Uniontown Herald-Standard, weekly Greene County Messenger and SWC Properties will be purchased by Ogden Newspapers.
The deals are expected to close June 30.
"We serve both readers and advertisers,” GateHouse CEO Kirk Davis said, according to a report by The Ellwood City Ledger. “The readers have our pledge to uphold the strong journalistic tradition the Calkins family has brought for 80 years. And the local business community has our pledge to bring innovative new products, particularly in the digital space, to complement the strong products already in place to reach their target audience as effectively as possible."
GateHouse Media publishes over 600 community publications, including 130 daily newspapers and 555 local market sites in 36 states.
Ogden Newspapers owns more than 40 daily newspapers, along with a number of weeklies and a magazine division.
Calkins board member Stan Ellis expressed to The Ellwood City Ledger the company’s “concern” for the past several years was “whether we would have the resources" to adjust "to the changing patterns of news consumers.
“When it became clear that would not be the case, we came to the painful decision that we would have to find media companies that shared our vision and had the resources to complete what we started,” he said.
Charles C. Smith, a board member and a third-generation member of the Calkins family, added: “The sole driving factor was the economics in running a paper in today’s world."
The sale is part of a national trend of local, family-owned media operations bought by larger conglomerates, such as Gannett's acquisition last year of North Jersey Media Group, which was owned by the Borg family for four generations.
GateHouse Media has acquired several publications since last year, including the Erie Times-News, The Fayetteville Observer and The Columbia Daily Tribune.
In April, Calkins Media sold off its TV assets.