News-Gazette Purchases Four Illinois Weekly NewspapersBack to News

CHAMPAIGN, IL, January 14, 2004 – The Champaign-Urbana (IL) News-Gazette acquired four weekly newspapers and a commercial printing operation in Illinois from Trinity Holdings, Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The operation, East Central Communications, includes the Rantoul Press, the Piatt County Journal-Republican of Monticello, the Gibson City Courier and CR Target, with combined weekly circulation of 26,500.

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

"This is the very logical merger of two fine printing and publishing companies," said John Foreman, publisher and executive vice president of the News-Gazette. "We’re very excited about what it will mean for our company, for these communities and for all our customers. These quality properties are a perfect complement to our existing business and our goals for the future."

J. Michael Martin, the News-Gazette’s chief financial officer, said the transaction is a strategic acquisition. "This fits perfectly in our long-term plan to grow and develop our printing and publishing franchise in East Central Illinois," Martin said. "This is a long-term commitment to our future growth and continued independence. Everyone should benefit from the result."

The Rantoul Press, Gibson City Courier and Piatt County Journal-Republican were all founded in the late 1800s, and had long histories of local ownership before being acquired by Trinity Holdings. The CR Target began publishing in 1970.

Foreman said all four newly acquired papers will retain their names, offices, and staffs, and will operate as a largely independent division of the News-Gazette company.

In addition to newspapers, News-Gazette, Inc. also includes a direct mail division and two radio stations. The News-Gazette traces its origins back to 1852.

For further information contact Philip Murray at Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, (phone) 505-820-2700 or (fax) 505-820-2900.