The combo will create the nation's largest newspaper chain and potentially the largest online audience of any American news provider.
GateHouse Media, the company that owns The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus CEO, Columbus Monthly, Columbus Alive, Columbus Parent and nine other Ohio newspapers, on Monday announced its long-planned acquisition of Gannett, creating the nation’s largest newspaper chain.
Pittsford, New York-based GateHouse, the operating subsidiary of New Media Investment Group, will combine with McLean, Virginia-based Gannett, the larger of the two companies, in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $1.38 billion and financed in part with new private-equity debt.
The combined company will be based at Gannett’s headquarters west of Washington, D.C., and will be called Gannett. New Media Investment Group CEO Michael Reed will remain CEO, and Paul Bascobert was appointed CEO of Gannett and a member of the Gannett board.
The companies estimated they can save $275 million to $300 million in annual costs within 24 months. New Media shareholders will own 50.5% of the combined company, while Gannett shareholders will own 49.5%.
“We believe this transaction will create value for our shareholders, greater opportunities for our employees, and a stronger future for journalism,” Reed said in a written statement.
Together, the two companies would operate more than 260 daily news operations — far more than any other U.S. news publisher — and serve potentially the largest online audience of any American news provider.
GateHouse bought The Dispatch Media Group in June 2015 from the Wolfe family of Columbus for $47 million. Other GateHouse newspapers include the Austin American-Statesman, Palm Beach Post, Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Providence Journal, while Gannett’s flagship properties include USA Today, Arizona Republic, Cincinnati Enquirer, Louisville Courier-Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nashville Tennessean and Detroit Free Press.
In Ohio, GateHouse owns The Akron Beacon Journal, The Alliance Review, The Ashland Times-Gazette, The Daily Jeffersonian in Cambridge, The Repository in Canton, The Record-Courier in Kent, The Independent in Massillon, The Times-Reporter in New Philadelphia, The Daily Record in Wooster.
The combined company will double its reach in Ohio, adding Gannett-owned papers including The Enquirer and these central Ohio papers: The Telegraph-Forum in Bucyrus, The Chillicothe Gazette, The Coshocton Tribune, The News-Messenger in Fremont, The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, The Mansfield News Journal, The Marion Star, The Advocate in Newark, The News Herald in Port Clinton, and The Times Recorder in Zanesville.
Here's how Gannett and GateHouse look together.