Marion Daily Helped Vault Gannett into Industry Lead
The Marion (IN) Chronicle-Tribune, which was given as a gift from Gannett Co. Inc. to the Gannett Foundation recently, was one of seven daily newspapers Gannett acquired from Federated Publications in 1970.
Upon completion of that transaction, Gannett ranked first in the number of daily newspapers it owned (41) and sixth in total daily circulation (1.8 million). Today Gannett owns 85 dailies in the U.S., more than twice that amount.
It wasn’t until much later that Gannett became the largest newspaper company measured by revenue.
The deal had each Federated share being exchanged for one-half of a share of Gannett common stock and one-fifth of a share of a voting preferred stock. Gannett issued approximately 2 million additional shares to fund this transaction and had just over 7 million shares outstanding at the time.
The transaction was valued at more than $52 million at a time when Gannett’s market capitalization was $192 million. Shares of Gannett climbed 34% in the quarter following the acquisition.
In acquiring Federated, Gannett extended its growing publishing empire to Michigan (Lansing and Battle Creek), Indiana (Lafayette and Marion), Idaho (Boise), and Washington (Olympia and Bellingham).
At the time Gannett operated in just three cities in the Midwest and Far West – Rockford and Danville, Illinois and San Bernardino, California. Gannett sold Rockford earlier this month to GateHouse Media.