Belo To Acquire California Daily p.12

By: M.L. STEIN THE RIVERSIDE, CALIF., Press-Enterprise, one of the nation's dwindling number of family-owned newspapers, has been sold to the A.H. Belo Corp., publisher of the Dallas Morning News and six other daily newspapers.
The sale, which is expected to close 30 days from the June 21 announcement, would end 119 years of private ownership, 67 of them by the Hays family, which owns a controlling interest in the newspaper. The sale price was not disclosed but the Press-Enterprise, in a story about the deal, quoted industry analysts as estimating that it could be worth about $243 million based on the paper's circulation of over 162,235 in a growing area. Newspaper purchasing prices are usually based on $1,000 to $1,500 per subscriber.
Last year, Belo acquired 21.47% interest in the Press-Enterprise from Dow Jones and Co. Several months later, Belo increased its stake to 38.5%.
Press-Enterprise Co. chairman Howard H. "Tim" Hays stated in the paper's story that the decision to sell was prompted by inheritance tax considerations and the fact that family members are scattered throughout the United States.
Hays, 80, said the family chose the Belo firm because of its reputation as a responsible publisher. "We couldn't put our paper in better hands," he said.
When Belo acquired the Providence Journal earlier this year, a similar reason was given for selling to the Texas-based chain.
Hays, a Harvard law graduate and former FBI agent, is highly regarded as an aggressive, civic-minded owner whose newspaper has won a number of awards, including the Pulitzer for meritorious public service in 1968. He is a member of the Pulitzer board, a past president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and a member of the Associated Press board of directors.
In the 1970s, Hays launched one of the few local news councils in the country, footing the bill until it was funded by a foundation. He also started the Press-Enterprise lecture series, which brought a number of distinguished journalists and media leaders to the University of California campus in Riverside.
Burl Osborne, president of Belo's publishing division, said decisions affecting the Press-Enterprise will continue to be made locally.
"We're not here to make it over and change its direction," he said.
The Press-Enterprise Co. also owns the weekly Business Press and six weekly community papers in its Inland Empire area.

?("We couldn't put our paper in netter hands." ) [Caption]
?(-Howard H. "Tim" Hays, Press-Enterprise Co. chairman) [Photo & Caption]
?E&P Web Site:
?copyright: Editor & Publisher June 28, 1997


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here