Liberty Group Acquires New West PropertiesBack to News

NORTHBROOK, IL, MAY 1, 2006 – William R. Welsh, Chief Operating Officer of New West Newspapers and Mike Reed, Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Group Publishing of Northbrook, IL, announced today that they have entered into an agreement for Liberty to acquire New West’s publishing and commercial printing operations in Nebraska and West Virginia. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

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

The properties include the 2,300-circulation daily Nebraska City (NE) News Press, non-dailies Syracuse (NE) Journal-Democrat, Hamburg (IA) Reporter, Ripley (WV) Herald, and Ravenswood (WV) Star-News, with combined paid circulation of 14,280. Also included in the sale are two Penny Press shoppers, a weekend publication and New West’s commercial printing plants in Syracuse, Nebraska and Ravenswood, West Virginia.

"We are pleased to add New West’s Nebraska and West Virginia publications to our growing portfolio of newspapers and look forward to welcoming their employees to the Liberty family," said Reed. "We’ll strive to continue to provide the same kind of service that their readers and customers have come to expect.”

Welsh said, "We have been personally acquainted with many of the executives in Liberty for a number of years and find them to be top quality newspaper people. They place a high value on their employees, communities and the customers they serve and we are confident that they will continue to build on the foundation we have laid."

New West is owned by former Iowa newspapers executives Michael G. Gartner and Gary G. Gerlach, along with William R. Welsh. Gartner, of Des Moines, Iowa, is a former president of NBC News and was editor of the Des Moines (IA) Register and the Ames (IA) Tribune. He is the principal owner of the Iowa Cubs, the Chicago Cubs’ AAA affiliate in Des Moines, and is currently serving as president of the Iowa Board of Regents.

Gerlach, of Incline Village, Nevada, is a former publisher of the Des Moines (IA) Register and the Ames (IA) Tribune. Welsh, of Nebraska City, Nebraska, is currently serving as president of the Association of Free Community Papers, the nation’s largest free-paper organization whose members circulate to over 40 million US households each week.

Liberty Group Publishing Inc. is a leading U.S. publisher of local newspapers and related publications that are the dominant source of local news and print advertising in their markets. Liberty Group Publishing owns and operates 274 publications located in 15 states that reach approximately 2.1 million people on a weekly basis. The majority of the company’s paid daily newspapers have been published for more than 100 years and are typically the only paid daily newspapers of general circulation in their respective non-metropolitan markets.

For further information contact James Oldershaw at Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, (phone) 505-820-2700, (fax) 505-820-2900, or visit our website at