Dubuque, Iowa-based Woodward Communications Inc. is acquiring the weekly newspaper publisher West Branch Communications from Jake Krob and Stuart Clark in a transaction that was expected to close September 29.
West Branch Communications include the following weekly newspapers in eastern Iowa: Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Solon Economist, West Liberty Index, West Branch Times, North Liberty Leader, Marion Times and Linn News-Letter, in addition to adjoining shoppers, and specialty publications. The company was formed in 2001 by Jake Krob and Stuart Clark, who also publishe the Tipton Conservative and Clarence Lowden Sun-News, which are not included in the sale.
The newspaper group will become part of WCI's Community Media Division, which consists of six weekly newspapers, including three Iowa weeklies, the Dyersville Commercial, Cascade Pioneer and Manchester Press, along with five shopper publications.
The newspapers will continue to operate from their current locations, and maintain their existing publication cycles.
Krob will join WCI as regional publisher in charge of the West Branch Communications group. He will report to Steve Fisher, publisher of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, and group publisher of Woodward Community Media.
"I'm incredibly excited about Woodward's rich history and proven innovation being put to use in our communities," Krob said. "Like us, Woodward is committed to local media and the communities they serve. Stu and I are grateful for the advertising and readership support over the past 16 years. Woodward Communications will be great stewards of the newspapers we love."
"We are committed to community media and are excited to add these quality publications into our portfolio," said Tom Woodward, chief executive officer and president of Woodward Communications. "West Branch Communications extends our eastern Iowa market area and creates synergies with our entire community publishing division. Jake's continued leadership of this group will provide for a smooth transition."