January – April 2022Back to News
Small Deal Activity Resumes After Quiet Start to Year
After a quiet start to 2022, more than 75 newspapers have changed hands so far this year.
Continuing the theme from last year, the majority of deals completed included smaller newspapers and local buyers.
RISN adds in RI and CT
Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers acquired two dailies in Connecticut – The Bristol Press/The New Britain Herald and the Chronicle in Willimantic – from Central Connecticut Communications (CCC). RISN also acquired The Block Island Times, seasonal Block Island Summer Times, Block Island magazine, and Block Island Weddings magazine in Rhode Island from same ownership group.
Founded in 1970, the weekly Block Island Times had been owned by CCC since 2016. CCC had owned The New Britain Herald and The Bristol Press since 2009. While they are published together currently as a single daily newspaper, both titles were founded in 1882. The Chronicle, which has been publishing since 1877, was acquired by CCC in 2017.
Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers and its affiliates operate newspapers in several states. Nearby operations include The Westerly Sun, The Kent County Daily Times, The Call of Woonsocket, The Times of Pawtucket, The Independent, and Southern RI Newspapers.
Española newspaper finds new local owner
The Rio Grande SUN in Española, New Mexico has been sold by Robert B. Trapp to El Rito Media LLC, an entity created by a group of local New Mexico investors. The Trapp family had owned the newspaper for 66 years.
Over the years, the newspaper has been the recipient of multiple awards for reporting and photography. It was the subject of a film documentary “The Sun Never Sets,” which was featured during a special screening for journalists and the public at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., in 2013.
The owners of El Rito Media are all New Mexicans and companies controlled by New Mexicans. The group says they are dedicated to continuing the Rio Grande SUN and to making New Mexico a better place to live. They believe that one way to help do that is to provide a newspaper which is fact-based, which searches for the truth and whose readers say, “I cannot tell whether those reporters are Democrats or Republicans. They report the facts.”
The owners of El Rito Media are: Ryan Cangiolosi of Albuquerque, Jalapeño Corporation of Albuquerque, Los Mocositos LLC of Santa Fe, Bryan Ortiz of Santa Fe, Francisco Romero of Albuquerque, Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde, Tom Wright of Santa Fe, Harvey Yates Jr. of Albuquerque, and Peyton Yates of Artesia.
CherryRoad continues growth
In January it was announced that CherryRoad Media added to the stable of 40 titles it acquired in 2021 with the purchase of 17 more newspapers in Texas and Oklahoma from Gannett Co., Inc.
The newspapers in Texas included the (Sherman) Herald Democrat, Waxahachie Daily Light, Stephenville Empire-Tribune, Brownwood Bulletin, Alice Echo-News Journal, Van Alstyne Leader, Anna-Melissa Tribune, Prosper Press, Grayson County Shopper, Midlothian Mirror, Runnels County Register, Glen Rose Reporter, Cross Timbers Trading Post, and Shop Local. The Oklahoma newspapers included the Daily Ardmoreite in Ardmore, the Shawnee News-Star, and Bryan County News.
CherryRoad expanded again in March with the acquisition of nine newspapers in Arkansas and Missouri from Rust Communications, Inc. The Arkansas titles included the Marshall Democrat-News, Monett Times, Cassville Democrat, and South Missourian News in Thayer. The Arkansas titles included the Carroll County News in Berryville, Lovely County Citizen in Eureka Springs, The News in Salem, Villager Journal in Cherokee Village, and the Clay County Times-Democrat in Piggott.
With these acquisitions, CherryRoad Media publishes more than 65 newspapers in 10 states.
121 Media acquires 14 Texas titles
121 Media acquired 14 weekly newspapers that serve communities in the northern and eastern suburbs of Dallas from Star Local Media.
This was the first acquisition for 121 Media, a family-owned and operated local media company based in Frisco, Texas. The company was founded by media industry veteran Rick Rogers and his wife, Elizabeth Rogers.
The newspapers acquired include the following titles, along with the website www.starlocalmedia.com: Allen America, Carrollton Leader, Celina Record, Coppell Gazette, Flower Mound Leader, Frisco Enterprise, Lake Cities Sun, Lewisville Leader, Little Elm Journal, McKinney Courier-Gazette, Mesquite News, Plano Star Courier, Rowlett Lake Shore Times, and The Colony Courier-Leader.
Prior to the launch of 121 Media, Rick Rogers worked at TownNews, a digital solutions company for local media organizations, most recently serving as chief revenue officer. Rick’s roots are in community media, working most of his 25 years in editorial, publisher, management and corporate roles within local media organizations in Missouri and Texas.
Star Local Media had been owned by veteran newspaper industry executive Scott Wright since 2016.
Mid-Atlantic Media adds in Philadelphia
Mid-Atlantic Media acquired the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, a regional Jewish publication covering Philadelphia and Pennsylvania suburbs and South Jersey. It had been owned by the Jewish Publishing Group, a subsidiary of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
Mid-Atlantic Media is a growing media company with a strong presence in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The company publishes Baltimore’s Child, Baltimore Jewish Times, Baltimore Style, Consumer’s Eye Magazine, Frederick’s Child, Home Services Magazine, Philadelphia’s MetroKids, Montgomery Magazine, Washington Family, and Washington Jewish Week.
Mullens acquire four in Montana
Brian and LeAnne Kavanagh sold the Shelby Promoter, Cut Bank Pioneer Press, Browning Glacier Reporter, and The Valierian to Jesse Mullen and Lloyd Mullen’s Ponderosa Publications.
Ponderosa Publications is affiliated with Mullen Newspaper Company based in Deer Lodge.
Mullen Newspaper Company manages three other Montana newspapers: the Silver State Post in Deer Lodge, Philipsburg Mail, and Bitterroot Star in Stevensville.
Brian and LeAnne were the fourth generation of Kavanaghs to own and operate the Promoter, dating back to October 1922. The couple received the MNA President’s Award in 2007 for their efforts to promote and protect the public’s right to know, following a successful lawsuit against the Cut Bank School District in a right to know case, which clarified the infamous Fleenor decision of the Montana Supreme Court. The clarification assured continuing access for the press and citizens to the Montana court system to assert their rights to an open and transparent government.
Hall family grows Iowa holdings
Charles City (IA) Press Publisher Christopher Hall and his father, longtime newspaperman Gene Hall, joined forces to purchase several northwest Iowa newspapers and related publications from Rust Communications.
The titles included the Spencer Daily Reporter, Northwest Iowa Shopper, Dickinson County News in Spirit Lake, Le Mars Daily Sentinel, Le Mars Shopper, Remsen Bell, Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune, and the Cherokee Chronicle Times.
The Halls will be spinning off the Storm Lake and Cherokee publications to John and Art Cullen of Storm Lake, who own and operate the Storm Lake Times.
Christopher Hall will continue to own and operate the Charles City Press, New Hampton Tribune and Nashua Reporter, and said the new purchases will not affect those newspapers, other than to possibly provide opportunities for shared resources and greater operating efficiencies.
“Newspapers, especially Iowa community newspapers, are still vibrant, thriving businesses, and I expect they have a long future,” Christopher Hall said.
WV News buys three
WV News is acquiring the Jackson Star, Jackson Herald, and Mineral Daily News in West Virginia from Gannett Co., Inc.
WV News president and owner Brian Jarvis said their WV News management team, which is composed of all native West Virginians, is eager to work with local staff and the communities.
WV News already produces eight newspapers: The Exponent Telegram, The State Journal, Fairmont News, Weston Democrat, Bridgeport News, Preston News, Preston Journal, and Garrett County (MD) Republican.
It also produces specialty publications, including Your Bulletin Board, a print and digital private-party marketplace for people looking to buy, sell or trade; as well as publications focused on West Virginia University sports, the Blue & Gold News Magazine, and a quarterly lifestyles-oriented glossy, NCWV Life Magazine. The company also operates a statewide website – wvnews.com – as well as one based out of Morgantown, morgantownnews.com.
View Newspaper Group acquires seven
View Newspaper Group acquired the business operations of Sherman Publications, Inc. in Michigan, which includes the publications Lake Orion Review, Oxford Leader, Ortonville Citizen, Clarkston News, Ad-Vertiser, Penny Stretcher, and Big Deal. The Sherman family had owned the group since 1955.
Founded in 2003 by Rick Burrough, View Newspaper Group, which publishes The County Press and Lapeer Area View, is a locally-owned community newspaper group that now includes 21 community newspapers covering Lapeer, Oakland, Genesee, Livingston, Sanilac, Huron, Saginaw, Shiawassee, Montcalm, and Ionia counties.
Since its start in 2003, View Newspaper Group has grown nearly every year. All View Newspaper Group publications are printed by its sister companies Michigan Web Press in Davisburg and Stafford Printing in Greenville.
Michigan Web Press was founded in 1979 and was acquired by Rick Burrough in 1999. Burrough expanded the company several times, most recently with the acquisition of Stafford Printing in Greenville in 2019. The company is now the largest commercial newspaper printer in Michigan, serving more than 250 clients. Their four press lines, made up of 68 printing units and six folders, produce more than two million copies weekly.
J. Louis Mullen completes three acquisitions
J. Louis Mullen acquired three North Dakota newspapers and a shopper from BHG Inc. The papers included the McLean County Independent, Leader-News, Central McLean News-Journal, and XTRA, as well as Viking Screen Prints. The purchase was completed just eleven months after sister company NorDak Central Publishing purchased the Beulah Beacon, Hazen Star, Center Republican, and Coal Country Dollar Saver from BHG, which is owned by Mike Gackle and Jill Denning Gackle.
Mullen also acquired The Gillette News Record in Wyoming, which had been owned by the Kennedy family for decades. The News Record has been operating since 1904 and is the longest operating local business in Gillette.
“I’m honored the Kennedy family has given me this opportunity to continue their legacy. I’ve looked up to Ann since I was 12 years old when I first met her while picking up a News Letter Journal press run. Small town newspapers are the lifeblood of a community and I look forward to being a small part of Campbell County’s history in this paper of record,” Mullen said. “The Kennedy family is the reason I’m in this business, and I just want to say thank you.”
Mullen’s third acquisition of 2022 was the purchase of Wyoming’s Cody Enterprise, which was founded by Buffalo Bill in 1899. Sage Publishing Company had owned the Enterprise since 1971.
Mullen’s newspaper interests include publications in Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Idaho, Washington, Michigan and Oregon.
O’Rourke expands to Delaware
O’Rourke Media Group acquired the Sussex Printing Corporation in Seaford, Delaware. The transaction included The Guide, which serves the Delmarva Peninsula.
O’Rourke Media Group currently operates in six states with a full-service digital agency and 23 publications and hyperlocal websites.