06-30-07 | Printable Version

Big Names Disappearing from Public Arena

Beginning with Dow Jones in 1963, the list of publicly traded newspaper companies only got longer with each passing decade.
By 1970 there were eight U.S. newspaper companies of substantial size that were publicly owned and actively traded. By 1999 there were 17.
Then came 2000.
Tribune Co. gobbled up Times Mirror (the second newspaper company to go public) and Gannett Co. Inc. acquired Central Newspapers.
Other venerable names have been erased as well. Pulitzer was bought by Lee Enterprises in 2005; Knight Ridder by McClatchy Co. in 2006. Tribune is working to take itself private. And Dow Jones, the granddaddy, may go this year as well.
Until this year, the public companies have largely gone away as a result of a merger with another public company.

However, with Tribune’s expected conversion to a privately owned company later this year, some see a trend of other publicly owned newspaper companies finding a way to go private.
Even so, some new names are emerging on the stock exchanges, although they tend to be much smaller concerns.
GateHouse Media bucked the trend in 2006 with a successful initial public offering based on paying shareholders a relatively high dividend.
On June 28, shareholders of Courtside Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded company set up to buy an existing company, approved the acquisition of suburban publisher American Community Newspapers.
The public company, which trades on American Stock Exchange under the symbol CRB, will be renamed American Community Newspapers.
ACN will join Triple Crown Media, spun off from Gray Television in 2005, as the two smallest publicly traded newspaper companies. Gray Television was previously named Gray�Communications Systems and went public in 1967.