Officials with New Media Investment Group, parent company of GateHouse Media, announced Wednesday that it has acquired 79 publications from the Morris Publishing Group as a part of a $120 million deal. The acquisition includes 11 daily newspapers in Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Arkansas and Alaska and Texas along with a commercial printing business based in Texas.
The Herald Democrat and Texoma Marketing and Media Group are owned by subsidiaries of GateHouse Media.
“New Media is very excited to welcome the Morris publications and their employees into our Company,” Michael E. Reed, New Media president and CEO, said in a news release. “For over 80 years, the Morris family has built and operated an incredible collection of local media assets. We are honored that the family has chosen us to uphold the rich tradition of journalism and innovation they have established.
“This transaction will expand our footprint into new states and add some very attractive markets to our local media portfolio. We see strong synergies between our two companies and look forward to the value creation opportunity that will exist as we combine the portfolios.”
In Texas, Gatehouse will also acquire the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and Amarillo Globe-News. The acquisition will include Florida-based The St. Augustine Record and The Florida Times-Union. Gatehouse will also acquire The Savannah Morning News, The Augusta Chronicle, and The Athens Banner-Herald, all in Georgia.
Other publications involved in the acquisition include The Topeka Capital-Journal, Log Cabin Democrat, and the Alaska-based Juneau Empire Peninsula Clarion and Homer News.
Morris Communications Chairman William S. “Billy” Morris III will remain as publisher of the Augusta Chronicle and will oversee the editorial-page policy for the three Georgia-based newspapers.
“Since 1928, the Morris family has had a great love and passion for journalism and the local communities that they serve,” Billy Morris said in a news release. “However, every newspaper company in America is battling trends and redirected advertising dollars, so it is necessary for newspapers to be a part of a larger newspaper group to build and maintain the necessary resources to compete.”
As part of the restructuring, all Morris Publishing Group magazines will be managed under Morris Media Network. Derek May, formerly president of Morris Publishing Group, will take a new leadership role as chief operating officer of the newly restructured company.
The sale of the publications and other assets is expected to be finalized on October 2.