Antitrust Department Clears Northwest Arkansas Newspaper Merger

By: E&P Staff Stephens Media LLC's Morning News in Springdale and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Northwest Arkansas operations will be merged Sunday, now that the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division has cleared the unusual partnership.

Friday will be the last day of work for an unspecified number of employees to be terminated as a result of the papers' merger under a new company, Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC. Those not hired by the new company will be paid severance based on the amount they would normally earn in a two-month period, the Democrat-Gazette reported.

Under the merger announced Sept. 3, Stephens -- publisher of The Morning News and several weeklies -- will handle local editorial operations, while the Democrat-Gazette, which publishes a zoned edition in 12 counties and owns the Northwest Arkansas Times and Benton County Daily Record, will be responsible for regional news.

The Democrat-Gazette will take over all production, distribution and business operations.

According to the Democrat-Gazette account, the Morning News will be circulated with the D-G primarily in Springdale and Rodgers, where it will be wrapped around the D-G in the way the two Wehco Media newspapers, the Northwest Arkansas Times and Benton County Daily Record, are circulated in its areas.

Stephens and the Democrat-Gazette's parent company each will have a 50% stake in the new company.

As part of the merger process, the Morning News was put up for sale, but attracted no bids.


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