The Simons family announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World to Ogden Newspapers. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is representing the Simons family in the sale.
The 124-year-old Lawrence Journal-World has circulation of 11,000 daily and 11,350 on Sunday. The newspaper is complemented by strong digital properties, a magazine publishing unit with products across Kansas, and two non-daily newspapers. The venerable Journal-World serves the market that is home to the University of Kansas.
The Journal-World traces its roots to 1891 when W. C. Simons and two other men started a newspaper in Lawrence. His son, Dolph Simons, moved into the publisher and editor positions. In 1962 Simons’ grandson, Dolph Simons, Jr., became editor and publisher. His two sons, Dolph Simons III and Dan Simons, are the fourth generation to lead the company.
“In today’s business environment, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a standalone, family-owned daily newspaper to compete and provide the product owners desire to produce,” said Dolph Simons Jr., still the editor of the Journal-World and the chairman of World Company. “This being the case, and in the best interests of Lawrence, Journal-World readers and our employees, Journal-World owners have decided to sell the Journal-World to the Ogden Nutting family, owners of Ogden Newspapers Inc., headquartered in Wheeling, West Virginia.”
“We are pleased and proud to have been selected to be the successor owners of the Journal-World,” said Robert Nutting, president and chief executive officer of Ogden Newspapers. “For many years, the Simons family has been an excellent steward of the Journal-World, known for their record of innovation and their deep commitment to Lawrence. We believe that newspapers like the Journal-World and its related publications, such as Lawrence Magazine and kusports.com, provide exceptional value both in print and online with trustworthy news reporting and effective advertising. We intend to continue in this tradition of service to Lawrence, the University and the state. Both the Simons family and our family have long and proud histories as newspaper publishers, the Simons going back to 1891, and our family going back to 1890 when my great-grandfather founded the Wheeling News.”
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016. Ogden Newspapers is a diversified, family-owned media corporation that publishes 40 daily newspapers, weekly newspapers and shoppers located in 14 states, from Florida to upstate New York and as far west as Maui, Hawaii. Ogden Newspapers also operates Capper’s Insurance Services out of Topeka, Kansas, as well as Ogden Publications, a specialty magazine company. The company has been headquartered in Wheeling, West Virginia, since September 22, 1890.
Today the Simons family also announced that it has entered into agreements to sell its publishing operations in Arizona and Colorado. The Payson (Ariz.) Roundup will be sold to the Kramer family, and Swift Communications will acquire Steamboat (Colo.) Pilot & Today, the Steamboat (Colo.) Pilot and the Craig (Colo.) Daily Press.