Gannett Sells Out to Competitor GateHouse Media

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Gannett, the newspaper chain known for buying local newspapers and cutting back on operations, including news, is now on the receiving end of an acquisition — by the owners of GateHouse Media.

New Media Investment Group Inc. on Monday announced a “merger” that will result in the New York company taking over 50.5 percent of Gannett, the owner of USA TODAY and about 109 newspapers around the U.S., including Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota, plus more than 160 news operations in the United Kingdom.

The companies said the new entity will operate under the Gannett name and be based in Gannett’s hometown of McLean, Virginia.

Gannett shareholders will receive $6.25 in cash and 0.5427 of a New Media share for each Gannett share they hold, or total consideration of $12.06 per Gannett common share based on New Media’s closing stock price as of August 2, 2019, and a premium of about 18 percent to the five-day volume-weighted average price of Gannett shares as of that date.

The deal will create one of the largest newspaper companies in the nation, according to Washington Business Journal.

“The breadth and depth of each company’s digital offerings will make the combined company a leading digital media player,” GateHouse said.

Not everyone in the newspaper community was surprised.

Newspaper industry observer and consultant Kevin Slimp wrote an analysis of the merger agreement, which is available here.

It’s been a forgone conclusion that this “merger” was going to take place for weeks. I’ve expected it for the past year.

Let’s face it. Gannett was out of choices. They cut their staffs, reduced pages and finally sold their buildings. It was sell or close. And who better to sell to than Gannett-Junior, er, GateHouse.

Two companies with similar business plans: Buy, cut, reduce, lose money, close, sell or merge. I wasn’t particularly interested in the same way I wasn’t overly-interested when rumor spread that Digital First Media might buy Gannett.

Gannett lists its “brands” on its corporate website. That list, by state, is available here. The merger will be particularly felt in throughout Michigan. Gannett owns these “legacy”  newspapers:

Michigan:

GateHouse owns many Michigan newspapers, too, as part of its operations in 612 markets in 39 states.

Michigan:

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Gannett Building” by Patrickneil. CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

 

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