The Wenatchee (Wash.) World, which has been published by the Woods family for 111 years, has been sold to Wick Communications, a third-generation family owned and operated media corporation, of Sierra Vista, Ariz.
The announcement was made today by World Publisher Rufus G. Woods and Wick Chief Executive Officer Francis Wick. The asset sale, for an undisclosed amount, was to take effect on March 31.
Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented the Woods family in the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“It has been our privilege to be the stewards of this wonderful community asset for three generations,” said Woods. “We are grateful to be able to hand the reins to another family-oriented company that shares our community-building values,” he added.
“We are honored to carry on the rich legacy and dedication of the Woods family and the great employees of The Wenatchee World in serving such a vibrant and exciting region,” Wick said.
The Wenatchee World is the first newspaper in the state of Washington for Wick.
All employees of The World have been offered jobs with Wick Communications.
Rufus Woods, who has been publisher since 1997, will remain as a columnist for the newspaper. Jeff Ackerman, who has been a publisher at various newspapers, has been named publisher to succeed Woods.
“Though challenging as it is to fill Rufus’ shoes as publisher, we are confident and excited Jeff will continue to showcase The World in a way that prioritizes impactful local content while carrying on the tradition of community participation and engagement,” Wick added.
“With all of the technological changes in the industry, it is becoming more challenging to be successful as an independent daily newspaper,” Woods said. The family considered what would be in the best interest of the company, the employees and the community and decided that passing the torch to another owner was the best option.
Several newspaper companies made offers, Woods said, but Wick was the clear choice.
“It makes sense for The World to be part of a network of newspapers with more resources and an ability to share best practices,” Woods said.
“As the newspaper industry continues to evolve and adopt multi-platform distribution channels, our core focus will be on professional journalism and accurate information improving the communities we serve and partnering with local merchants in promoting a strong ‘buy local’ ecosystem,” Francis Wick said.
The Wenatchee Daily World was founded in 1905 and purchased two years later by Rufus Woods and his brother Ralph. Later, their cousin Warren Woods became the paper’s business manager.
Rufus Woods was publisher until his death in 1950. He gained national fame for his promotion of Grand Coulee Dam and the Columbia Basin Project. Following his death, his son Wilfred published the paper and managed the company with Robert Woods, the son of Warren. Robert was The World’s long-time editorial page editor and played a key role in the development of the North Central Regional Library system. Wilfred, who passed away in 2017, championed the arts, history and economic development.
In 1997, Wilfred retired and passed the reins to his son, Rufus G. Woods.
This World staff-written story appeared in the newspaper March 29.