Brian Knox, president of W. D. Hoard & Sons Company, announced today that they have sold the newspaper division of the company to Adams Publishing Group. The Daily Jefferson County Union and the affiliated Hometown News Limited Partnership publish 13 community newspapers and shoppers, stretching across parts of six counties in south central Wisconsin.
W. D. Hoard & Sons Company will continue to operate its other businesses including the Hoard’s Dairyman magazine, a magazine aimed at the dairy industry with world-wide distribution, other agricultural publications, a dairy farm, recently launched cheese products and other businesses.
Dirks, Van Essen & Murray & April, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented the Knox family in the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The Daily Jefferson County Union was founded in 1870 by William Dempster Hoard. The Knox family eventually acquired the company from the Hoard family. Brian Knox, the second generation of the Knox family and current publisher, has been with the newspaper for the past 41 years.
Hometown News publishes the Sun Prairie Star, a twice-weekly newspaper, plus eight weekly newspapers: Milton Courier, Cambridge News/Deerfield Independent, Lake Mills Leader, Herald-Independent/McFarland Thistle (covering Monona, Cottage Grove and McFarland), Waterloo/Marshall Courier, Waunakee Tribune, DeForest Times-Tribune and the Lodi Enterprise/Poynette Press.
Knox said in a statement that his family’s interests are refocusing on other sectors of the company. “148 plus years ago this company was founded on community journalism. When I became publisher, almost all of the 37 daily papers in the state were independently owned, either as single papers or in small groups. Now there are fewer dailies and just a handful of independents left. One of the reasons for this is that in the 41 years I have been publisher, the industry has had to technologically re-invent the way we do business every three or four years to continue on. We have done this successfully and even our circulation numbers have fought the industry trend and grown the last few years. But the reality is that we’ve reached the point where we need to be much bigger to spread those costs and to take advantage of rapidly changing technologies.”
Adams Publishing Group principal, Stephen Adams stated, “We are extremely excited to have the Daily Jefferson County Union and the Hometown News community papers join our fast-growing publishing group. The communities they serve are exactly the types of communities that we look for as we build our company.”
With 30 daily newspapers, more than 100 non-daily newspapers and other enterprises operating in 20 states, including Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, Adams Publishing Group describes itself as “first and foremost a family-owned community newspaper company, which is driven to provide high quality products and services that make a positive difference in the lives of its constituents, which are, in prioritized order: its readers, customers/advertisers, communities, Associates (employees) and its shareholders.”
Other Adams family enterprises include outdoor advertising (billboards), radio, wine, Camping World/Good Sam (recreational vehicles) and significant philanthropic endeavors.