Press Releases

Paxton Media Group to Acquire the Durham Herald Company

DURHAM, NC, December 2, 2004 - Paxton Media Group announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase 100% of the outstanding stock of The Durham Herald Company from members of the founding Rollins family.

The Durham Herald Company publishes The Herald-Sun in Durham, North Carolina, as well as a companion product, The Chapel Hill Herald. The Herald-Sun has daily circulation of more than 50,000 and Sunday circulation of more than 54,000.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger-and-acquisition firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented the Rollins family in the transaction.

Since 1895, the E.T. Rollins family has been active in the ownership and management of the Herald-Sun newspapers, formerly the Durham Morning Herald and The Durham Sun, until they were merged in 1991. Past publishers of the newspapers were Edward Tyler Rollins, Carl C. Council, Steed Rollins, E.T. Rollins, Jr., and Richard J. Kaspar. The current publisher is David Hughey.

Paxton Media Group President David Paxton commented, “We are extremely gratified that the Rollins family has entrusted us with the stewardship of The Herald-Sun going forward. Assuming responsibility for a newspaper that has been published by one family for more than 100 years is both a challenge and an opportunity. Like The Durham Herald Company, ours is a family-owned newspaper company. As we have grown we have sought to combine the best elements of local, family ownership with the advantages and operating efficiencies of a larger organization.”

“We have a philosophy about the role a newspaper should play in its community,” Paxton said, “but we rely on local managers to adapt that philosophy to each community in which we operate. We believe a newspaper should be a reflection of the community it serves. Publishers and editors make the final decisions about news and editorial content, and virtually every key business decision is made at the local level.”

“The Herald-Sun will become our 29th, and largest, daily newspaper,” Paxton said. “We believe Durham, Chapel Hill and all the communities that make up the Durham metropolitan area, have a very bright future. We look forward to the opportunity to contribute to that future.” Paxton continued, “Our other newspapers in North Carolina will benefit from collaboration with The Herald-Sun. Together, I believe these newspapers will be able to offer even better service to our readers, our advertisers and our communities.”

E.T. Rollins, Jr., chairman of the board of The Herald-Sun, said he viewed the acquisition of the newspaper by the Paxton Media Group as “a very positive development for our company and our community.” He said, “We are confident that the Paxton Group will continue the vigorous and dedicated tradition of concerned journalism that has been the hallmark of our company during its 109 years of publishing.”

“Through The Herald-Sun, we have been privileged to bring insight and perspective to readers in Durham, Chapel Hill and a wide area of central North Carolina. It has been a life-long commitment, and it is satisfying to know that the company will continue to be in the hands of experienced and responsible leadership,” Rollins concluded.

The transaction is expected to close in early 2005. Paxton Media Group is a fourth generation, family-owned media company, founded in 1896 and based in Kentucky.

Paxton Media Group currently publishes a total of 28 daily newspapers – eight in Indiana, six in North Carolina, four in Arkansas, three each in Georgia and Kentucky, and one each in Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, and Tennessee. With The Herald-Sun, combined daily circulation of the newspapers is approximately 370,000. The company also owns an NBC affiliated television station in Paducah, Kentucky, and publishes 14 paid weekly newspapers as well as more than 100 free distribution newspapers, shoppers, and specialized publications.

For further information contact Owen Van Essen or Phil Murray at Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, (phone) 505-820-2700, (fax) 505-820-2900, or visit our website at www.dirksvanessen.com.