Village NetMedia Buys Courier Publications

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By: E&P Staff

Village NetMedia has agreed to purchase Courier Publications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crescent Publishing Co. Terms of the transaction, which include six weekly newspapers across Maine, were not disclosed. Cribb, Greene & Associates brokered the deal.

Village NetMedia, based in Rockland, Maine, operates the Web site VillageSoup and two community newspapers. On June 30, the company will operate Courier’s tri-weekly Courier Gazette in Rockland; the weekly Camden Herald; the Republican Journal and Waldo Independent in Belfast; Bar Harbor Times; and Capital Weekly in Augusta. The purchase also includes Courier Publications’ Rockland printing operation.

“The media landscape is changing in Maine and across the country, and I’m proud to say that we are creating an innovative approach that works,” Richard M. Anderson, CEO of Village NetMedia, said in a statement. “VillageSoup integrates a highly interactive Web site with traditional print, and is the future for small town media. This purchase allows us to expand our reach and breathe new life and energy into these papers, all for the benefit of readers and advertisers.”

The Waldo Independent and Waldo County Citizen (a NetMedia publication) will be folded into the Republican Journal. The Knox County Times will be folded into the Camden Herald and Courier Gazette.

NetMedia intends on hiring most of Courier Publication employees with a net loss of 26 positions mostly in Knox and Waldo counties. Presently there are 128 people employed across the eight publications of NetMedia and Courier.

“While we are confident that this transaction will result in a superior product, temporary job losses in the community are unfortunately unavoidable,” Anderson said in a statement. “We certainly had hoped we could offer positions to everyone, but with the duplication of services and necessary contractions, it’s just not feasible.”

Anderson, 67, founded VillageSoup with his son, Derek Anderson. The Knight Foundation granted VillageSoup $885,000 to redeploy the platform as open source software. With the anticipated licensing of VillageSoup by other news organizations, Anderson said he expects new jobs to be created in the future.

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