21 Century Newspapers Buys Heritage Group

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(AP) The owner of three suburban daily newspapers has acquired Heritage Newspapers Inc., publisher of more than 20 community newspapers in southeast Michigan.

21st Century Newspapers Inc. and Heritage Newspapers made the announcement Sunday. A purchase price was not disclosed.

Pontiac-based 21st Century owns The Macomb Daily, The Oakland Press, The Daily Tribune of Royal Oak, and more than 40 weeklies in Michigan. Heritage is a division of Prechter Holdings and was created when Heinz C. Prechter, an automotive industry entrepreneur, bought and merged several area newspapers in the 1980s.

Prechter died last year.

Heritage consists of suburban weekly publications in southeastern Michigan covering 68 communities in Wayne, Monroe, Washtenaw, and Genesee counties. The newspapers have a combined circulation of more than 300,000.

“This acquisition fits like a glove into our market expansion plans,” said 21st Century President and chief executive Frank H. Shepherd.

The sale of Heritage Newspapers is part of the strategy to return Prechter Holdings to its core automotive focus, said David Treadwell, president and CEO of Prechter Holdings.

21st Century also owns the County Press in Lapeer, the Voice Newspapers in Macomb and St. Clair counties, the Advisor/Source newspapers in Utica, and more than 20 other weekly publications serving readers in Genesee, Huron, Sanilac, Shiawassee, Saginaw, Grand Traverse, Antrim, Kalkaska, and Charlevoix counties.

Shepherd said Dan P. Smith, former vice president of community newspapers for Morris Communications of Augusta, Ga., will join 21st Century as the new president of Heritage.

Doug Haensel, executive vice president and chief financial officer for 21st Century, will oversee the company’s two weekly divisions, Heritage and the Lapeer group.

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