GateHouse Media parent company, New Media Investment Group, has acquired 79 publications and assets from Morris Publishing Group, including 11 daily newspapers, 30 weeklies and online assets.
The deal is expected to close in October for $120 million.
The publications included in the acquisition are located across Georgia, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and Alaska. The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Florida, and The Augusta Chronicle and Savannah Morning News in Georgia are the biggest dailies in the deal.
“This transaction will expand our footprint into new states and add some very attractive markets to our local media portfolio,” stated Michael E. Reed, New Media president and CEO.
This deal is another example of the trend of large, national media companies buying family-owned ones and consolidating the struggling local media industry.
The New Media Investment Group website says the goal is to take local properties and "transform them from print-centric operations to dynamic multimedia operations, through our existing online advertising and digital marketing businesses.”
Some 85%t of New Media’s daily newspapers have been published for more than 100 years ,and 100% have been published for more than 50 years.
William S. “Billy” Morris III, chairman of Morris Publishing, will remain as publisher of The Augusta Chronicle and will oversee editorial-page policy for the three newspapers in Georgia.
“Every newspaper company in America is battling trends and redirected advertising dollars, so it is necessary for newspapers to be part of a large newspaper group to build and maintain the necessary resources to compete,” he stated.
Morris Publishing has owned newspapers for more than 80 years.
The Florida Times-Union reported the company is restructuring to focus on lifestyle publications, property development and new business.
New Media Investment Group is one of the largest newspaper companies in the country, owning over 125 daily newspapers and more than 500 publications across the U.S.
The sale also includes: The Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia; The St. Augustine Record in Florida; the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and Amarillo Globe News in Texas; the Topeka Capital-Journal in Kansas; the Log Cabin Democrat of Conway, Arkansas; and the Juneau Empire and Peninsula Clarion of Kenai in Alaska.