Friday, December 18, 2015

Alabama's Boone Newspapers to buy four Schurz Communications newspapers in Central Kentucky

UPDATE, Jan. 5: The sale was finalized Dec. 31, and the purchaser is not Boone Newspapers, but a subsidiary of Carpenter Newsmedia, which is identified as an affiliate of Boone. However, the subsidiary will be managed by Boone, according to The Advocate-Messenger.

Alabama-based Boone Newspapers is putting a major stake into Central Kentucky with the purchase of two small dailies and two weeklies owned by Schurz Communications of Mishawaka, Ind.

Boone first entered Kentucky only in September, buying The State Journal in the state capital of Frankfort. Now it has three dailies and two weeklies, all within an hour of The Winchester Sun's printing plant, the only one the group operates. The other, larger daily is The Advocate-Messenger in Danville, at right. The weeklies are The Jessamine Journal in Nicholasville, nearest Lexington, and the rural Interior Journal in Stanford.

The group has been headquartered in Danville and known as Advocate Communications. Its publisher, Larry Hensley, will remain as head of a new Carpenter Boone subsidiary, Bluegrass Newsmedia LLC. Boone CEO Todd Carpenter told the company’s new employees, “We have much in common with Larry and with your organization. We are publishers by practice and background, not financial investors. Our company is built on sound community publishing principles and led by people who have practiced and are practicing those principles as newspaper publishers now.”

Boone, based in Tuscaloosa, has been one of the more acquisitive publishers in recent years, and now has 70 papers. Besides Alabama and Kentucky, it also has papers in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota.

Family-owned Schurz reportedly decided against buying the Frankfort paper and more recently has been in a divestment mode. In September, it agreed to sell all its TV and radio stations to Atlanta-based Gray Television.

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