SPARTANBURG, SC, JUNE 4, 2007 - Mid-South Management Co., Inc., owner and operator of 16 newspapers across the Southeast, announced today it has agreed to sell its properties to Heartland Publications LLC of Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The sale, for an undisclosed price, includes four daily newspapers, three tri-weeklies, two semi-weeklies, and seven weeklies, a wine magazine and several shoppers and niche publications in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.
Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger-and-acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented Mid-South Management in the transaction.
The four dailies included in the sale are the LaGrange (GA) Daily News, which has daily circulation of 9,960; Mount Airy (NC) News, with daily circulation of 10,000; the Laurinburg (NC) Exchange, with daily circulation of 6,000; and the Union (SC) Daily Times, which has daily circulation of 6,500.
Andrew Babb, Mid-South's president and owner of Crescent Media Group, whose properties were included in the sale, said the transaction was brought about by his family's desire "to find a partner that shares our philosophy and could provide the resources necessary to strengthen our publications in serving their communities." Spartanburg-based Mid-South was started in 1953 by Babb's grandfather, Phil Buchheit. Babb's mother, Phyllis Delapp, is chairman of the board.
Heartland CEO Michael Bush said his company is "very excited to be expanding our company's southern footprint through our acquisition of this group of fine community newspapers. Their commitment to quality journalism and community affiliation matches our own. We intend on building upon their great legacy of community service and journalistic integrity by providing additional marketing and internet services."
Heartland, which was formed in 2004, has rapidly grown to own 32 newspapers, mostly in the Southeast and Midwest. The addition of the Mid-South/Crescent Media operations brings the total to 48 paid-circulation newspapers.
"We are an acquisition-minded company that seeks to own and operate newspapers in good communities," Bush said. "Having previously done business with Andrew and Phyllis, we know to take care and honor their legacy. We believe in the newspapers and the communities we are adding to our Heartland family."
Heartland is owned by The Wicks Group of Companies and Wachovia Capital Partners. Wicks is a New York-based private equity firm focused on selected segments of the communications, information and media industries. Wachovia Capital Partners, based in Charlotte, N.C., is the principal investing arm of Wachovia Corp.