Hearst buys 145-year-old Pioneer Group from Batdorff family members


Hearst has acquired The Pioneer Group, the publisher of two dailies and three weeklies in Michigan that was led by fourth-generation family owner Chairman Jack Batdorff and his son, President and CEO John Batdorff. 

Included in the sale were the dailies The Pioneer in Big Rapids and the Manistee News Advocate, three weeklies, four shoppers, associated digital publications and a digital marketing services business.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Hearst already owns several newspapers in Michigan, including includes the Huron Daily Tribune and the Midland Daily News. 

"We are proud to follow four generations of Batdorff family leadership in these central Michigan communities," Hearst Newspapers president Mark Aldam said. "This addition is an essential part of our desire to further serve readers in Michigan."

"We have every confidence that Hearst will be good stewards of the community, and will be a progressive community partner, a goal we've tried to fulfill over the years," Jack Batdorff said in a statement. "They have a reputation for giving back and for taking care of their people, which has always been important to our family." 

"Hearst has the resources and specific expertise across many media platforms to take the products and the company to a whole new level,"  John Batdorff said. "I'm excited for the employees who are joining Hearst, which is a family company too, just on a much bigger scale."

The Pioneer publisher John Norton will continue in his role following the acquisition, Hearst said.

"Hearst has made a major investment in digital marketing solutions, which we can now roll out into our markets, adding more choices and value for our customers," Norton said.

"It's going to be exciting for all of us to be a part of this growth step."