Freedom, Thomson deal five papers p.114

By: Editorial Staff A REFOCUSED THOMSON Newspaper Corp. has agreed to buy a daily paper and a weekly group from Freedom Communications Inc. and to sell three dailies to Freedom.
The companies refused to disclose the terms.
The deal, planned to close Aug. 31, gives Freedom the 15,000-circulation Jacksonville, Ill., Journal-Courier, 14,000-circulation Sedalia (Mo.) Democrat, and 8,000-circulation Barstow, Calif., Desert Dispatch.
Thomson, based in Stamford, Conn., gets the 7,000-circulation Bucyrus (Ohio) Telegraph-Forum and Dothan Progress Ltd., the Dothan, Ala.-based publisher of a 33,000-circulation free weekly and several shoppers.
The papers Thomson is selling are among 25 U.S. dailies the company put on the market as part of a reorganization designed to group its remaining papers into strategic marketing groups. Thomson currently publishes 143 U.S. and Canadian dailies.
Its more than 2 million daily circulation make it the seventh largest U.S. newspaper group.
Freedom, the Irvine, Calif.-based owner of 25 U.S. dailies is the nation's 14 largest, with 940,000 daily circulation. It is buying the trio of dailies in an attempt to diversify its holdings geographically.
Dick Harrington, Thomson Newspapers president and CEO, said the papers he is selling better fit Freedom's strategy than Thomson's, while the acquisitions will enhance Thomson's Central Ohio and Alabama marketing groups.
Freedom president and CEO James Rosse described his company's acquisitions in Illinois and Missouri as "strong county seat dailies" that fit the company's criteria for having close community ties, and said the Barstow, Calif., paper will strengthen Freedom's nearby Victorville Daily Press.


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