Lee completes acquisition of Berkshire Hathaway newspaper operations

Lee Enterprises has completed its acquisition of BH Media Group’s publications and The Buffalo News, Iowa-based Lee announced today.

The acquisition nearly doubled Lee’s audience size and added 30 daily newspapers, more than 49 paid weekly publications with digital sites, and 32 other print products from BHMG, as well as The Buffalo News, to Lee’s portfolio of local publications. Lee’s portfolio now consists of 77 publications in 77 communities.

After the elimination of a Lee-BH Media management agreement and adding operating expenses from the lease agreement, the transaction is expected to drive an 87% increase in revenue, a 40% increase in adjusted EBITDA, and immediately reduce Lee’s leverage to 3.5x, even before $20-25 million in anticipated annual revenue and cost synergies, according to Lee.

As previously announced, and in connection with the transaction, Berkshire Hathaway provided approximately $576 million in long-term financing to Lee at a 9% annual rate. The proceeds from the financing were used to pay for the acquisition and refinance Lee’s existing debt and also allowed Lee to terminate its revolving credit facility. Berkshire Hathaway is now Lee’s sole lender.

Source: News and Tech, 2020

2020 Continuous Improvement Conference cancelled

Printing Industries of America (PIA) has announced the cancellation of the 2020 Continuous Improvement Conference scheduled for April 5-8 in Columbus, Ohio, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The health and safety of our attendees is of our utmost concern. After closely monitoring the situation for many days, we were forced to make this very tough decision,” said Michael Makin, president and CEO of Printing Industries of America.

“We wish to honor the recommendations of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and other state health officials that large gatherings be postponed or cancelled to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus,” said Jim Workman, vice president of PIA’s Center for Research and Technology.

Updates will be posted at ci.printing.org and the organization will plan to host a continuous improvement edition of its Ready! virtual series in the fall to fill the educational void left by the cancellation. Concerns regarding registrations and exhibitor contracts can be directed to jworkman@printing.org.

Source: News and Tech, 2020

Drupa trade fair postponed until April 2021 due to COVID-19

The drupa trade fair scheduled for June 16-26 has been postponed until April 20-30, 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the postponement, organizer Messe Dusseldorf is following the recommendation of the crisis management team of the German federal government to take into account principles of the Robert Koch Institute (Berlin) when assessing the risk of major events.

In addition, there was a ruling issued by the city of Dusseldorf on March 11 that generally prohibits major events with more than 1,000 participants present at the same time.

“The decision was taken in close consultation with our advisory boards and sponsoring associations,” says Werner Dornscheidt, chairman of the board of Messe Dusseldorf. It also reflects the wishes of individual industries, says a news release from drupa organizers. “As their partner, we are currently doing everything in our power to reduce the economic losses suffered by our exhibitors.”

Drupa president Claus Bolza-Schunemann agrees. “A postponement of drupa was unavoidable after the latest developments. The decision is therefore right and responsible. Many exhibitors start their logistical preparations in the middle of March — today’s announcement of the postponement enables all those affected to react now, reschedule and prepare for the event date in April 2021. The excitement for ’embrace the future’ remains undiminished — also in 2021.”

Those needing more info on drupa 2021 should contact Messe Dusseldorf North America at info@mdna.com or visit www.drupa.com or www.mdna.com.

Source: News and Tech, 2020

Plain Dealer to cut 22

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) will be cutting 22 newsroom employees, the paper reported. The employees will be notified on March 23. Eighteen of the employees are from the bargaining unit represented by Local One of the Newspaper Guild and four are unrepresented managers.

“The reason is strictly financial,” read a March 9 note from Tim Warsinskey, editor of The Plain Dealer. Warsinskey had been in the job for just over a week when he posted the note.

The paper will still be printed every day and delivered on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Advance Publications owns the paper.

Source: News and Tech, 2020

Publishers remove paywalls on COVID-19 content

Publishers including The Atlantic, Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News have put coronavirus-related material outside of paywalls so non-subscribers can access it, Adweek reported.

“As a public service to our readers and community, we have lowered the paywall on some of our most critical stories so everyone can access this important information,” said a note from the Chicago Tribune.

Many smaller papers are doing the same.

The Los Angeles Times has a free landing page and newsletter and looks at several things when deciding whether to lift the paywall for a particular coverage area, Adweek said.

The Wall Street Journal has a landing page and is launching a free daily video series.

Source: News and Tech, 2020