CNHI Buys 34 Papers In 3 Deals p.14

By: Robert Neuwirth Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., based in Birmingham, Ala., is buying 31 dailies and nondailies in 10 states.
In three separate deals ? with a family-owned company, a small chain and the nation's largest newspaper publisher ? Community is raising its newspaper holdings by almost 40%.
President and CEO Ralph Martin said that with these deals, he will have spent more than $600 million on newspaper acquisitions since founding Community 17 months ago, and its papers will be generating revenues at the rate of $250 million a year.
Martin plans to continue buying community newspapers until hitting about $400 million in annual revenues. "We will probably never own a paper larger than 35,000 circulation," he said. With his deal-making running ahead of schedule, he could reach the target size within a year, he said.
Martin, who spent 19 years with Thomson Newspapers before setting out on his own, said he is working on 24 more newspaper deals and expects "another large deal this year."
Martin also said he plans to offer employees a stake in the company.
CNHI is bankrolled by Retirement Systems of Alabama, which invests pension funds for state employees. The retirement fund has a history in newspapering, having financed the 1994 purchase of 106 newspapers owned by Park Communications by two private investors.
With profit margins running between 25% and 30%, Martin said his newspapers were a safe investment. "I don't think anybody could fault them for this risk," he said.
Under an agreement with the retirement fund, CNHI recently moved its corporate offices from Kentucky to Alabama. But the firm has yet to buy any papers in its home state.
CNHI's latest acquisitions began June 30 with word on the purchase of the Palestine Herald-Press, a 9,300-circulation Texas daily owned by the Patrick family for 32 years.
Next came 25 dailies and three weeklies being bought in eight states from Donrey Media.
And just after July 4, CNHI and Gannett Co. disclosed the sale of five Gannett dailies. Gannett is the nation's largest newspaper company.
Terms of the deals were not disclosed. When the deals close, Community will own 124 newspapers.
The latest deals also include,
From Donrey:
Indiana: Washington Times-Herald
Iowa: Clinton Herald, Oskaloosa Herald
Kentucky: Glasgow Daily Times
Mississippi: Picayune Item, and Poplarville Democrat (a weekly.)
Missouri: Moberly Monitor-Index & Democrat
New Mexico: Alamogordo Daily News
Oklahoma: Altus Times, Blackwell Journal-Tribune, Chickasha Daily Express, Claremore Daily Progress, Durant Daily Democrat, Guymon Daily Herald, Henryetta Daily Free-Lance, Norman Transcript, Okmulgee Daily Times, Pauls Valley Daily Democrat, and Frederick Leader (a weekly.)
Texas: Athens Daily Review, Borger News-Herald, Cleburne Times-Review, Gainesville Daily Register, Jacksonville Daily Progress, Kilgore News Herald, Sweetwater Reporter, Weatherford Democrat, and Cedar Creek Pilot (a twice-weekly paper in Gun Barrel City.)
From Gannett:
Illinois: Danville Commercial-News
Ohio: Chillicothe Gazette, Gallipolis Daily Tribune and Sunday Times-Sentinel, and Pomeroy Daily Sentinel
W.Va.: Point Pleasant Register.
?(Ralph Martin) [Photo]

?( Editor & Publisher Web Site: http://www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(copyrigh: Editor & Publisher July 11, 1998) [Caption]


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