Commercial Printing Operation Is Included in Sale of Newspaper Group

The assets of Eau Claire Press Co., a fourth- and fifth-generation, family-owned media company based in Eau Claire, Wis., has been sold to family-owned Adams Publishing Group, which is based in Minneapolis and chaired by Stephen Adams. The sale included a full-service commercial printing division called Leader Printing, The Leader-Telegram daily newspaper, The Country Today weekly agricultural newspaper, the Chippewa Valley Review shopper publication and various related websites.

The transaction was scheduled to close today, for an undisclosed amount. All of The Eau Claire Press Co.’s existing employees are reportedly being offered employment and benefits with Adams Publishing Group.

Adams Publishing Group owns and operates newspapers and printing plants in 11 states and is a division of the Adams Office,  which owns and operates a number of other businesses, including Adams Outdoor, Fairway Outdoor, Adams Radio Group, Good Sam/Camping World, as well as wineries and vineyards in the United States and Europe. Focused on local community news and advertising products, Adams already owns 63 community newspapers, 18 advertising shoppers, 20 specialty publications and 81 associated websites. It acquired five newspaper publishing companies in 2016 alone.

According to its website, Adams Publishing Group owns and operates seven facilities that also provide commercial printing services.

“After a 130 years of family ownership, selling The Eau Claire Press Co. was not an easy decision for the Graaskamp and Atkinson families,” admits Pieter Graaskamp, president and CEO. “However, at a board strategic planning session, we discussed the long-term viability of an independently owned family media company. We came to the difficult decision nearly a year ago that selling was the best option for our employees and the communities we serve.

Pieter Graaskamp will continue as president and CEO of The Eau Claire Press Co., a role he has held for more than 14 years. Dan Graaskamp will continue as VP of sales.

Cribb, Greene & Cope in Helena, Mont., represented The Eau Claire Press Co. in the sale.