The Topeka Capital-Journal is the latest Kansas newspaper in GateHouse Media’s publication portfolio. New Media Investment Group, the publicly-traded holding company of GateHouse, announced today it will acquire 79 Morris Publishing Group newspapers, including the Topeka daily, for $120 million.
The Cap-J is the only Kansas newspaper included in the acquisition, but GateHouse owns a number of publications in the state. Prior to the Cap-J purchase, the newspaper conglomerate owned 22 newspapers and six shoppers in Kansas. The Topeka paper marks GateHouse’s 11th daily newspaper in Kansas. Its Sunflower State portfolio includes the Hutchinson News, the Salina Journal, the Pittsburg Morning Sun, the Newton Kansan, the Fort Leavenworth Times, the Ottawa Herald, and the Hays Daily News. GateHouse operates more than 630 publications in 36 states.
In a press release, New Media CEO Michael E. Reed, said he’s excited to welcome Morris employees to GateHouse.
“We see strong synergies between our two companies and look forward to the value creation opportunity that will exist as we combine portfolios,” Reed said.
Those synergies could mean layoffs in Kansas. Last August, GateHouse offered buyouts to veteran journalists at many of its papers. GateHouse officials offered one week of severance pay for every year employed and acknowledged the hope that the buyouts would mitigate the need for future layoffs.
In February, New Media Investment Group said in a regulatory filing that it intended to cut more than $27 million in expenses in 2017, while taking advantage of acquisition opportunities.
The company often shifts its design and copyediting services to a central location in Dallas.
The Stauffer family of Topeka owned the Topeka Capital-Journal for more than 50 years from 1940 to 1994, when the paper merged with Atlanta-based Morris Publishing.
“Every newspaper in American is battling trends and redirected advertising dollars, so it is necessary for newspapers to be part of a large newspaper group to build and maintain the necessary resources to compete,” chairman of Morris Publishing, Billy Morris III, said of the sale.