A Busy Day for Newspaper M&A

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By: E&P Staff

It’s been a busy day in the world of mergers and acquisitions. First, Journal Register Co. acquired 21st Century Newspapers for $415 million in cash. The transaction includes four daily newspapers and 87 non-daily papers. Merrill Lynch pegged the multiple at 12 times EBITA but points out that 21st Century Newspapers has a margin of 22.4% versus the Journal Register’s 27%. The investment firm remains cautious about the “top-line opportunity outside of the cyclical recovery.”

Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa, bought Hispanos Unidos serving Lincoln and Columbus, Neb. The free bi-monthly, which publishes in Spanish, is mailed to readers. This is Lee Enterprises’ first foray into Hispanic publications. Terms of the final transaction was not disclosed.

Also today, Big Lake Media purchased the Okeechobee (Fla.) Pennysaver, the Pennysaver Weekender, the Okeechobee Times and the Indiantown News from J.W. and Gail Owens. The Okeechobee Times and Indiantown News are paid weeklies. The Pennysavers are distributed for free. Terms of the deal were not revealed.

In addition, Pulitzer Newspapers bought two California papers, the Santa Ynez Valley News and the Santa Ynez Extra Edition for an undisclosed sum.

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