AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   July/August 2000

The Big Get Bigger   

Thomson Corp. makes good on its declared intention to sell off daily U.S. newspapers.

By AJR Staff

Thomson Corp. makes good on its declared intention to sell off its daily U.S. newspapers as it strikes deals with newspaper giant Gannett Co. and rapidly growing Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. Gannett, owner of USA Today , pays $1.125 billion for 21 papers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Louisiana, Utah and Maryland, whose circulations total 466,000. That brings Gannett1s U.S. daily newspaper holdings to 95, with a combined circulation of about 7.2 million. Gannett also acquires weeklies and niche publications. CNHI, an Alabama-based firm that debuted in 1997, gobbles up 17 dailies in Indiana, Georgia, West Virginia and Maryland for $455 million. It now owns 109 U.S. daily newspapers with a total circulation of about 1 million, 260,000 of which was added with this purchase. Thomson announced in February it would cast off its papers, except Toronto1s Globe and Mail , to concentrate on its electronic business information holdings. The sell-off continues with Media General Inc. buying five dailies, and Copley Press Inc. and Cooke Communications each picking up one. The deals leave the company with four U.S. and five Canadian dailies that it expects to sell. One of the former Thomson papers, the Oshkosh Northwestern in Wisconsin, welcomes its fourth owner in about two years. The now-Gannett property was acquired by Thomson in June 1998, having been sold about two months earlier to the Nutting family companies after 130 years of independent, local ownership.... In other consolidation news, Central Newspapers Inc. has put itself on the block. The company owns six daily papers, including the Arizona Republic and the Indianapolis Star .