American Community Newspapers sells its Northern Virginia Newspapers to HPR Hemlock LLCBack to News

PLANO, TX – March 28, 2011 – American Community Newspapers has sold the company’s Northern Virginia division to HPR Hemlock LLC.  

The division’s weekly newspapers include Leesburg Today, Ashburn Today, the Arlington Sun Gazette and the Great Falls, McLean, Oakton, Vienna Sun Gazette. Specialty publications include the quarterly Loudoun Magazine, and monthly Loudoun Business and Middleburg Life magazines.  This suite of publications has a combined circulation of more than 191,000.

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

Prior to selling the Virginia newspaper group, ACN sold its operations in Columbus, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Plano, Texas.  This concludes the sale of ACN’s assets. 

HPR Hemlock, based in Fort Worth, TX, was formed to make media acquisitions, particularly newspapers and their websites and mobile products.  The company’s philosophy centers on finding strong news providers with local and regional readers and advertisers and management experienced in their local markets.  Growth markets and community journalism are primary to the company’s acquisition strategy.

"These community weekly newspapers and their targeted specialty publications have been serving Northern Virginia for a long, long time and HPR Hemlock will be relying on the people who have built these businesses to continue to run them as if they own them," said Richard L. Connor, a longtime media executive, who is helping with the transition following the acquisition.

"Norman Styer, the Leesburg Today publisher and editor, has been the leading news executive in the Loudoun group for more than two decades," Connor said.  "Combined, the employees at the company represent more than 200 years of experience in Northern Virginia.  They will continue to make decisions locally because there are no corporate directives or corporate staff attempting to make what need to be local decisions and strategic initiatives."

Styer said the completion of the sale was an important milestone. “After months of uncertainty while the sale was pending, we will now be able to move ahead with growth plans that have been sidelined during the process,” Styer said.  “We have an excellent team in place and the employees, readers and advertisers will benefit from ownership committed to a long term investment in the publications and in the community as we continue to explore opportunities to expand our reach in the market through acquisitions or new publications.”