AP, Vertis to Buy the Newspaper Network

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(AP) The McClatchy Co. reached separate agreements to sell the assets of The Newspaper Network Inc. to The Associated Press and Vertis Inc., the three companies said Thursday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is expected to close in June.

The Newspaper Network, which McClatchy treasurer R. Elaine Lintecum said had about $12 million in 2002 revenues, facilitates the planning, pricing, and placing of advertising in newspapers around the country.

The AP will purchase TNN’s advertising processing operation, which is responsible for placement and billing processes, complementing AP’s existing ad processing business, AP AdVantage. Both processing operations are located in Sacramento, Calif.

Separately, Baltimore-based Vertis will purchase the sales, marketing, and media planning assets of TNN and operate it under The Newspaper Network name.

AdVantage will manage Vertis’ TNN placement and billing services after the deal is closed.

“The acquisition demonstrates AP’s commitment to growing our ad management services business,” said Tom Brettingen, AP vice president of business development. “The TNN operation is a major addition to our present AP AdVantage ad-processing business and our AP AdSEND ad-delivery business.”

Bob Weil, vice president of operations at McClatchy, said, “We feel very good about placing the future of TNN in the hands of Vertis and Associated Press, two companies that are respected in the newspaper and advertising industries and promote values and goals similar to TNN.”

AP has operated AdSEND since 1994 and transmits about 1 million advertisements a year to newspapers in the United States. AP entered the ad processing business in late 2001 with the acquisition of the Newspaper Industry Communications Center (NICC) from the Newspaper Association of America.

Ad processing involves delivery of insertion orders from advertisers or ad agencies, approval or modification of the orders by newspapers, collection of tearsheets, collection of newspaper invoices, resolution of invoice discrepancies, consolidation of bills to advertisers, and cash processing.

Herb Moloney, Vertis chief operating officer for North America, said the acquisition “will result in Vertis increasing its ability to provide effective media planning and placement services.”

McClatchy, based in Sacramento, is a newspaper and Internet publishing company whose properties include the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee and The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

The AP is the world’s largest news organization, providing coverage to more than 15,000 outlets throughout the world.

Vertis is an international marketing and advertising firm that combines advertising, direct marketing, media, imaging, and progressive technology.

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