Sun Media Group has announced it has agreed to sell The Westerly (R.I.) Sun and its related publications and websites to Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers, also known as RISN Operations.
Dirks, Van Essen, Murray & April, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, N.M., is representing Sun Media Group in the transaction, which is expected to close at the end of the month. All employees will be retained by Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers.
“We at Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers are looking forward to growing our portfolio of local news publications with the addition of The Westerly Sun and The Mystic River Press,” said Jody Boucher, Group Publisher of Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers.
“The Sun is known for its trusted, community-focused journalism, which has distinguished it as one of the region’s most respected daily newspapers. It also serves a market that is very attractive for us as we build our print and online media presence throughout southern New England.
We still believe in the importance of newspapers as a valuable community service, and that’s why we are happy to invest in publications that have been proven to provide that service.”
The 3,700-circulation daily Westerly Sun was founded in 1858 and is the leading source of local news and information in the region. A consistent award-winner for journalistic excellence, The Westerly Sun was named a distinguished newspaper by the New England Newspaper & Press Association and one of Editor & Publisher’s “10 Newspapers That Do It Right” in 2016.
Sun Media Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Record-Journal Publishing Company based in Meriden, Conn. Record-Journal Publishing Company acquired Sun Media Group in 1999 from the Utter family, fifth-generation owners of the operation. Record-Journal Publishing Company is owned by fourth and fifth-generation members of the White family.
“We’ve been proud to have owned The Westerly Sun for almost 20 years. We are pleased that we have found buyers committed to strong local journalism and the greater Westerly community. As owners of three other Rhode Island dailies and six weeklies, we feel that RISN is a great fit for The Westerly Sun,” said Eliot White, President & Publisher, and Liz White, Executive Vice President.
Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers is led by Canadian newspaper executive Steven Malkowich. The new owners have newspaper assets throughout Canada and the United States. Nearby operations include The Kent County Daily Times, The Call of Woonsocket, The Times of Pawtucket and the recently acquired South County Independent.