Sunday, November 23, 2014

GateHouse Media, back in the black, buying most of Halifax, which bought NYT regional papers

New Media Investment Group, parent firm of GateHouse Media, is buying most of the assets of Halifax Media Group, which has grown to 24 daily newspapers and 12 weeklies since buying the 16 papers in the New York Times Regional Media Group less than three years ago.

Halifax is based in Daytona Beach and most of its papers are in the Southeast, but the chain also includes the Worcester Telegram and Gazette in Massachusetts, which it bought in May from Boston billionaire John Henry, who had bought it and The Boston Globe from the Times. GateHouse CEO Kirk Davis owns Worcester Magazine.

New Media already has a strong presence in New England. It recently bought The Providence Journal, its largest paper, and Foster's Daily Democrat of Dover, N.H., and owns such papers as The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass., and the Cape Cod Times. Soon after buying the New York Times papers, it bought 19 Freedom Communications papers in North Carolina and northwest Florida.

New Media has been publicly traded since February. In September, it announced plans to offer 6.5 million shares of new stock, on top of the 30 million outstanding, the Boston Business Journal reported. "Primary backer Fortress Investment Group took GateHouse in and out of bankruptcy while acquiring a number of other daily and weekly papers and holding them all under the New Media umbrella," Managing Editor Jon Chesto wrote in September, speculating that the company's next target would be Digital First Media, which was formed as a new parent for MediaNews Group.

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