DOJ Gives Antitrust OK to Gannett’s Purchase of HomeTown

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(AP) Federal antitrust enforcers have recommended no action in a probe of plans by Gannett Co., the nation’s largest newspaper company, to acquire a Michigan-based publisher of community newspapers, a Justice Department official said.

The closing of the investigation clears the way for Gannett to buy HomeTown Communications Network Inc. of Livonia, Mich.

“We looked at it and we closed it and felt that no action was necessary,” Gina Talamona, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said on Tuesday.

Gannett announced in November it would buy HomeTown, whose assets include one daily paper and 58 weekly and twice-weekly community newspapers in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Of the 58 community newspapers, 17 are in the Cincinnati area.

Federal officials confirmed they were examining the deal in January. Gannett already owns The Detroit News and The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Tara Connell, a spokeswoman for the McLean, Va.-based Gannett, said she did not know when the sale would be completed.

Gannett and HomeTown did not disclose the financial details of the acquisition when it was announced last fall. HomeTown’s publications have a circulation of about 740,000, and the company also produces 24 telephone directories, a shopping guide and other specialty publications.

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