Press Releases

Journal Communications Subsidiary Sells Pelican Press

MILWAUKEE, WI, June 9, 2011 - Journal Community Publishing Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Journal Communications, Inc., has sold the weekly Pelican Press and Pelican Press Marketplace to The Observer Group Inc. The Pelican Press businesses operate in Sarasota, Florida.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger and acquisition firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented Journal Communications in the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Hugh McGarry, general manager of Journal Community Publishing Group, said the company sold the Pelican Press and Pelican Press Marketplace because of a strategic decision to concentrate on its cluster of newspapers in Wisconsin.

“It has been a great property for Journal Communications with a great team in place,” McGarry said of the Pelican Press. “The acquisition should give the Observer an expanded footprint in the Sarasota market.”

The Pelican Press, based on Siesta Key, has a 40-year history in the area and regularly wins awards from the Florida Press Association for excellence in journalism, including recent awards for editorials and in-depth reporting. The Pelican is in contention this year for best investigative reporting.

The Sarasota-based Observer Group has more than 80 employees and publishes four publications in the Sarasota-Manatee area: the Longboat Observer, Sarasota Observer, East County Observer and Gulf Coast Business Review. The company also owns and publishes the Palm Coast Observer on the east coast of Florida. The Observer Group newspapers, including the Pelican Press and Pelican Press Marketplace, will distribute 124,500 newspapers a week.

“We’re thrilled to become the next stewards of the Pelican,” said Matt Walsh, CEO of The Observer Group Inc. “Although we have been direct competitors for the past seven years in Sarasota and on Siesta Key, the Pelican is a great fit for our company. We focus on the same thing — helping local businesses with their advertising and providing the Sarasota market with hyper-local community news and information. We’re excited about joining our two staffs into a common mission and publishing great newspapers and websites.”

Journal Communications, Inc., headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was founded in 1882. The diversified media company publishes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and several community newspapers and shoppers in Wisconsin and Florida, and owns and operates 33 radio stations and 13 television stations in 12 states.

If you have further questions contact Dirks, Van Essen & Murray at 505-820-2700.