Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tight-lipped, family-owned firm, started 3 years ago, is already 6th largest owner of U.S. papers

Adams Publishing Group, a newspaper firm that is barely three years old, has bought more than 100 small dailies, weeklies and shoppers in at least 15 separate transactions," Poynter Institute media-business analyst Rick Edmonds writes for the Iowa Newspaper Association's INA Bulletin and for Poynter. That makes it the nation's sixth-largest owner of newspapers, according to a March 2017 report by Visiting Professor Carol Wolf for the University of North Carolina's Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media. About half its papers are in Minnesota, where it is based. UPDATE, Oct. 30: The company announced Oct. 26 that it had bought from Champion Media several papers in the Mount Airy, N.C., area, just east of an area where it has weekiles.
Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media map; click on it to enlarge
"In contrast to other big consolidators, they often leave existing management in place, do not impose cookie-cutter content templates, and do not start by stripping down newsrooms of editors and reporters," Edmonds reports. One example is its purchase of Jones Media, a Greeneville, Tenn.-based chain that was in its fourth generation of family ownership until patriarch John Jones died in 2016 and his descendants forced a sale over the objection of CEO Gregg Jones. He "chose to stay and has nothing but good things to say about the company," Edmonds reports, quoting him: "I'm working harder and enjoying myself more than I ever have. . . . These are the kind of people we want buying newspapers."

CEO Mark Adams rarely speaks
publicly about the firm he runs.
Edmonds couldn't elicit comment from the company, and called it "secretive." The firm is part of a diversified portfolio owned by "billionaire investor Stephen Adams and his family," who "have flown largely under the radar, unknown to those outside the industry," the UNC report says. "The company looks to buy non-metro publications where the newspapers or groups have revenue of about $10 million, said Larry Grimes, of W.B. Grimes & Co., a Gaithersburg, Md.-based mergers-and-acquisitions advisory firm specializing in media properties. Adams Publishing looks for large niche markets and buys within a geographic region. So far, the company has focused primarily on purchasing papers in the Midwest, but it owns publications as far east as the Jersey shore."

1 comment:

Tom Dixon said...

I imagine some laid off friends at the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Rawlins Daily Times would strongly disagree with your assessment that APG leaves ANYTHING intact. They strip mine the place just like the rest of the big boys do when they buy a good local paper.