GateHouse parent buys Gannett
“GateHouse parent New Media Investment Group has completed its $1.2 billion cash-and-stock buy of Gannett, the companies announced Nov. 19. The combined company has adopted the name Gannett Co. and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker GCI.
The combined company is the largest local news organization in the U.S. with 260 daily newspapers plus USA Today. In the U.K., its Newsquest division has more than 150 local media brands and a network of websites. Twenty-five percent of its revenue is driven by digital products sold across company brands, which include ThriveHive, ReachLocal, Wordstream and sweetIQ. The company also owns and operates the largest high school athlete recognition program in the U.S. and is the second-largest producer of endurance events in North America.
The merged operation is headquartered in Mclean, Virginia, where Gannett has been based.
Gannett is externally managed and advised by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, a global investment management firm. The management agreement will be sunset at the end of 2021 as a condition of the merger.
The company has indicated it aims to cut $300 million in annual costs post-merger.
“Our powerful network of brands and capabilities position us well to ensure and preserve the future of local journalism,” read a Gannett statement on the merger.
Not all reactions were so positive.
“The future for local news looks bleak,” read the headline on a post-merger piece by Michael Hiltzik, business columnist at the LA Times.
“The deal is bad for journalists, it’s bad for readers and it’s bad for the future of local journalism,” said NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer in a statement from the union, which represents employees at numerous of the company’s newsrooms. “Local papers will likely vanish, jobs will be slashed, and reporting will suffer.”
Voluntary buyouts reportedly representing three to five positions were announced at Gannett’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported.
Of the 200 dailies at the newly merged company that file print circulation numbers publicly, more than 80 percent are losing circulation at a faster clip than the national average and 10 percent are falling at twice that rate or more, according to a Business Journal examination of the numbers.”
Source: News&Tech, 2019
New York’s Manchester Newspapers sold
“New York state-based Capital Region Independent Media has acquired Manchester Newspapers (Granville, New York) and all associated digital and print products, according to John Thomas Cribb of merger and acquisition firm Cribb, Greene & Cope, who represented the Manchester family in the sale.
Manchester Newspapers is a weekly newspaper and specialty publishing company that prints five newspapers each week as well as 40-plus specialty publications annually. Its parent newspaper, the Granville Sentinel, has been in the family since its founding in 1875.
Other newspapers included in the sale are the Whitehall Times, the North Country FreePress, the Hudson Falls FreePress and the Lakes Region FreePress. All totaled the newspapers are delivered into some 33,000 homes each week.
Publishers John and Lisa Manchester said Capital Region Independent Media was the perfect fit for the purchase.
“The new owner, Mark Vinciguerra, is dedicated to continuing publishing quality, locally owned newspapers and he realizes the importance these newspapers have to the communities they serve. He also will be able to greatly enhance the digital and internet aspects of the business, which is so critical these days,” said John Manchester.”
Source: News&Tech, 2019
Toronto Star to stop print of commuter papers
“The Toronto Star will cease to produce print editions of its StarMetro commuter newspapers in five Canadian cities, the paper announced. The final editions will be out Dec. 20. Seventy-three jobs will be lost, the CBC reported.
The Free Daily News Group publishes StarMetro papers in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. StarMetro Halifax operates with a joint venture arrangement and will also shutter.
The StarMetro papers are Canada’s last large free English-language commuter daily papers, the Star says.
People in the five cities will have access to local news on the Star’s website, its mobile app and through its newsletters, the Star said. The Star has offered a special deal for StarMetro print readers who want to subscribe for digital access to thestar.com.”
Source: News&Tech, 2019
Hearst Magazines staffers unionizing
“Hearst Magazines’ editorial, video, design, photo and social staff across 24 brands is moving to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO. The brands are Best Products, Bicycling, Car and Driver, Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Delish, Elle, Elle Decor, Esquire, Good Housekeeping Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, Men’s Health, O The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Prevention, Road & Track, Runner’s World, Seventeen, Town & Country, Veranda, Woman’s Day and Women’s Health.
A strong majority of the 500-member staff has signed union cards, according to the union.
“Organizing has become common in our industry. In forming a union, we’ll be joining our colleagues across the industry at Vox Media, NY Magazine, Slate and countless others,” said a statement from the union organizing committee.
The WGAE will pursue voluntary recognition of the union, Lowell Peterson, executive director of the union, told the New York Post. ”
Source: News&Tech, 2o19.