4th Quarter 2019 Deal Activity
Other than the closing of the Gannett/New Media mega-deal, the final three months of 2019 saw deal activity largely consistent with the rest of the year.
A number of small- and mid-sized market dailies changed hands in the fourth quarter, most of them independently owned.
These transactions included the sale of the Champaign (IL) News-Gazette and its radio stations, as well as small dailies in New York, Tennessee and Ohio.
Pop the Champaign Corks
An affiliate of family-owned Community Media Group acquired the 23,000-circulation Champaign (IL) News-Gazette and related broadcast assets in central Illinois.
In addition to the daily, the acquisition included weekly newspapers around Champaign and three radio stations – WDWS, WHMS and WKIO. The radio group has the broadcast rights for the University of Illinois’ sports teams.
Illinois-based Community Media Group, owned by the Perrotto family, has community newspapers and digital websites in several Midwestern states, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York.
CMG President and Chief Executive Officer Mark J. Perrotto said, “Our goal is to continue to bring the top-quality products the readers have come to expect. The excellent coverage of University of Illinois sports, the award-winning news, the commitment to quality features, all will continue.”
The News-Gazette and related media assets had been owned by the Marajen Stevick Foundation. The newspaper was founded in 1919 by David W. Stevick.
Holler at Ya
Rust Communications sold the Shelbyville (TN) Times-Gazette and two non-daily publications to a newly formed company, Holler Media. Holler Media is owned by residents of the Nashville area, which is north of Shelbyville.
Missouri-based Rust acquired the Shelbyville newspaper in 2004 from the Yates family, which had owned it since 1946.
The deal included the Marshall County Tribune and the Bedford-Marshall County Shopper.
Aiming for Amsterdam
The family-owned Schenectady (NY) Daily Gazette bought the neighboring daily Recorder in Amsterdam and related publications from a local owner.
The transaction included the non-dailies Courier-Standard-Enterprise in Canajoharie and the Fulton County Express newspapers.
Recorder owner Kevin McClary had worked for 38 years at the Amsterdam Recorder. He became publisher in 2007, then purchased the company in 2014 from Port Jackson Media, which had owned it briefly.
McClary will continue to own the Hamilton County Express and Adirondack Express in the western Adirondacks.
Prior to the sale, the Daily Gazette had taken over the printing and distribution of the Amsterdam newspapers. Schenectady and Amsterdam are in adjacent markets along the Mohawk River in eastern New York.
Ogden Newspapers bought the Findlay Courier and Fostoria Review Times in northeastern Ohio from local owners to augment its operations in the region.
The Findlay newspaper had been owned by the Heminger family since 1926; the Hemingers acquired the Fostoria operation in 1998.
In addition to these two newspapers, Ogden’s holdings in northern Ohio include publications in Tiffin, Sandusky and Norwalk.
J. Louis Mullen’s NorDak Publishing added non-daily titles in North Dakota to its portfolio. The newspapers included the Ransom County Gazette, Sargent County Teller, Cass County Reporter and Traill County Tribune.
Mullen owns 11 other community newspapers in South Dakota, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming.