CNHI Sells 22 Papers to McGinnis

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. (CNHI) said it sold 22 daily and non-daily papers in seven states to Heartland Publications LLC, a new publishing company headed by former Murphy McGinnis Media Inc. principal James M. McGinnis.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Dirks, Van Essen & Murray of Santa Fe, N.M., represented CNHI in structuring the transaction.

In a statement CNHI President and CEO Mike Reed said the papers were “no longer strategic” to the Birmingham, Ala.-based chain. Even after the sale, CNHI remains one of the biggest newspaper publishers in the United States, with 87 daily newspapers with combined circulation of nearly 950,000; 49 non-daily and 155 specialty publications in 20 states.

McGinnis said Heartland intended to continue the “long, successful tradition” of community publishing the papers represent: “We are delighted to launch Heartland with such a strong platform of fine community newspapers, and look forward to growing the company with additional strategic acquisitions.”

Backing Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based Heartland are Wachovia Capital Partners, the investing arm of Wachovia Corp.; and The Wicks Group of Companies, a New York-based private equity firm.

The acquisiton includes the following papers:

Georgia: Thomaston Times.

Kentucky: Harlan Daily Enterprise; The Hazard Herald; Grayson County News-Gazette; The Middlesboro Daily News; Floyd County Times; The News Democrat & Leader.

North Carolina: Apex Herald; The Sampson Independent; Bladen Journal; Fuquay-Varina Independent; Garner News; The Robesonian.

Ohio: Gallipolis Daily Tribune; The Daily Sentinel, Pomeroy; The Portsmouth Daily Times.

Oklahoma: Altus Times; Durant Daily Democrat; Frederick Leader.

Tennessee: Macon County Times; Clairborne Progress.

West Virginia: Point Pleasant Register.

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