Columbia Daily Tribune bought by New York publisher (9/23/16)
St. Louis Business Journal
Andy Waters’ family plans to sell the Columbia Daily Tribune of Columbia, Missouri, to GateHouse Media Inc., ending 115 years of local ownership for the newspaper.
Terms of the deal, expected to close Oct. 1, were not disclosed.
New Media Investment Group (NYSE: NEWM), based in New York City, owns GateHouse, which operates 125 daily newspapers across the country. In Missouri, it owns newspapers in Boonville, Kirksville, La Plata, Brookfield, Chillicothe, Hannibal, Moberly, Mexico, Independence, St. Louis, Osage Beach, Camdenton, Rolla, St. James, Waynesville, Greenfield-Miller, Carthage, Aurora, Joplin and Neosho.
The Tribune reported that Columbia, home to the University of Missouri’s flagship campus, will be the largest Missouri city where GateHouse owns a daily newspaper.
“We invested in the Tribune because we believe in Columbia, Missouri’s future,” Jason Taylor, president of GateHouse’s Western Division, told the Tribune Thursday. “We believe in the newspaper, we believe in its people and we are excited that by leveraging the national resources of GateHouse Media we can take this local company to greater heights than ever before.
“What readers and advertisers can expect is for us to innovate and leverage technology and our national footprint to make the newspaper better, its website better and make the community stronger,” he said.
Since January 2011, Andy Waters and his sister, Elizabeth Reifert, have owned the Tribune. Their family has owned the paper since 1905.
Tribune Publisher Vicki Russell told the Tribune that remaining independent was no longer an option.
“Bigger companies can absorb research and development, for example, and spread costs out across the entire company while we were constantly being challenged to do that by ourselves,” Russell told the Tribune.
For the quarter ended June 30, the Tribune reported total subscribers of 14,312 Monday through Saturday, including 13,638 print, and 16,288 Sunday, including 15,615 print, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. A year earlier, for the quarter ended June 30, 2015, it reported total subscribers of 14,812 Monday through Saturday, including 14,109 print, and 17,319 Sunday, including 16,616 print.
The Tribune’s report said Hank Waters would continue to write daily editorials, as he has since May 1966.
GateHouse, based in Pittsford, New York, has been on the hunt for acquisitions since emerging from bankruptcy in 2013. http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2016/09/23/columbia-daily-tribune-bought-by-new-york.html