Family-owned newspaper companies accelerated their recent and remarkable acquisitive ways in August, snapping up newspapers being shed by corporate owners and expanding their reach beyond their traditional markets.
Nothing better illustrated this trend than the sale by publicly traded GateHouse Media—which has been expanding its newspaper portfolio for the past two years—of 12 downstate Illinois papers to family-owned Paddock Publications Inc. For Paddock it was a move to markets 300 miles from its suburban Chicago base, where it publishes the Daily Herald, the Spanish-language weekly Reflejos and niche publications.
Some family-owned newspaper companies are buying up papers very aggressively. For the Nutting family’s Ogden Newspapers, for instance, the purchase in August of the Provo (Utah) Daily Herald from publicly traded Lee Enterprises was its second newspaper purchase in a little more than eight weeks. In June, Ogden bought the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World from the Simons family’s The World Company.
What follows are reports from the field in this new newspaper M&A environment.