Below some major news and noteworthy tidbits from the marketing and media world. Lots of news on the M&A front this week.
Gannett buys Journal Media
Gannett Co. the largest newspaper company in the U.S. is buying Journal Media Group, the Wall Street Journal reports The deal is described as a sign of “a long-awaited round of consolidation” in the newspaper industry. The Journal Media owns the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Naples Daily News as well as dozens of community papers throughout the Midwest and South. Gannett recently split into two publicly traded companies in a push to separate slower-growing publishing assets from TV and digital properties.
Gannett, with more than 90 daily newspapers, is the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, measured by daily circulation. In addition to USA Today, it owns the Arizona Republic, Indianapolis Star, Cincinnati Enquirer and The Tennessean in Nashville.
Hot Millennials: Axel Springer also Buys Stake in Thrillist
The big news was Axel Springer’s purchase of a majority stake in Business Insider. But the German publisher’s pursuit of Millennials does not stop there. Springer also announced last week that it took a stake minority stake in Thrillist, part of a larger $54 million round of funding. Thrillist characterizes itself as a “leading men’s digital lifestyle brand” with a series of sites dedicated to advising millennial guys on everything from where to take their dates in Denver or Honolulu to where to find the best pizza in Berlin.
Meredith says the deal with Media General is not dead, yet
Everything was about to happen with the Meredith acquisition by Media General. But after Nextstar Broadcasting announced a bid to buy Media General for US$ 4.1 billion, the previously announced acquisition of a 65% stake of major magazine publisher Meredith Corp by Media General is becoming increasingly unlikely. The Nexstar bid, delivered to Media General as a letter, describes the Meredith deal as “ill-conceived” and contends that a Nexstar/Media General merger would offer even bigger scale—162 stations in 99 markets versus 82 stations in 54 markets. Nexstar is positioning the deal as a “pure-play” broadcast deal, without any ownership of publishing assets. However, according to Adweek, Meredith told employees in a memo that both Meredith’s and Media General’s boards of directors have approved and signed a merger agreement and it remains “confident in the strategic rationale behind the merger and the shareholder value it will create.” The memo went on to say Meredith is working on closing the deal “in a timely fashion.’” Media General says it is still looking at the deal proposed by Nexstar but added in a Monday press release, “The Board of Directors of Media General continues to recommend the proposed transaction with Meredith.” Media General also issued a statement acknowledging it received the unsolicited proposal from Nexstar.
Ferrer Faass & Co acquires assets of Casiano
Puerto Rican publisher Casiano Communications is being taken over by Ferrer Faass & Co, a Corporate Advisory Firm and Private Equity Fund Manager based in San Juan, PR. The Bankruptcy Court announced that Ferrer Faass&Co’s offer of a total of US$ 15 million beat a competing offer by New York investment firm Encanto Group. Casiano publishes several magazines including Caribbean Business, Vivir al Maximo and Imagen. Ferrer Faass & Co, announced that it will continue publishing the magazines. Approximately 300 employees work in Casiano.
Roman Catholic Diocese in OC bets on Spanish-language Newspaper
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange county is extending its multimedia outreach within Orange County by launching a Spanish-language counterpart to its weekly Orange County Catholic newspaper. Orange County Catholic En Español debuted as a bi-weekly Spanish-language newspaper publishing every other Sunday, on Sept. 20, with a digital replica available through occatholic.com. range County Catholic En Español will have a 25,000 bi-weekly distribution throughout Orange County, and specifically within Hispanic-dominant communities such as Santa Ana and Anaheim. It will be available at more than 330 retail and news rack locations within high-traffic retail locations, which includes distribution alongside Freedom’s weekly Spanish-language newspaper, Excélsior. Combined, the English- and Spanish-language newspapers will reach an audience of more than 100,000. Both English- and Spanish-language editions are published in partnership with Freedom Communications, which publishes Spanish-language weeklies Excélsior and La Prensa in the Orange County market. “As the Catholic population continues to grow, our diocese must also expand the ways we connect and communicate with the faithful in our community,” said Most Reverend Kevin W. Vann, Bishop of Orange. “Orange County Catholic En Español is an important vehicle to bring inspirational stories of faith and news through a Catholic lens to our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters. It is our playful hope that the content included within this newspaper will grow understanding and deepen the faith of our community.” Orange County Catholic’s English-language circulation has grown from 47,000 in 2013 to more than 80,000, and is now the largest Catholic weekly newspaper in the nation.