Burlington Free Press owner finalizes acquisition by GateHouse

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Burlington Free Press owner finalizes acquisition by GateHouse

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 10:42am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine On November 19, New Media Investment Group Inc, the owner of GateHouse media, and Gannett Company, Inc, the owner of the Burlington Free Press, announced the successful completion of the acquisition of Gannett by New Media for a combination of cash and stock. The deal was valued at about $1.38 billion when it was announced last August. While Gannett was the company acquired, the combined company will take the Gannett name and trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker: GCI. Gannett is based in McLean, VA.

GateHouse Media, based in Pittsford, NY, in recent years has been gobbling up weekly and small daily newspapers mostly in the Midwest and Northeast. It owns nearly every weekly in Eastern Massachusetts under the wickedlocal.com brand. The Free Press is the only Gannett paper in Vermont. The combined company eventually expects to save upwards of $300 million a year.

The new Gannett produces over $4 billion in annualized revenue, and over $500 million in annualized As Adjusted EBITDA. It is the largest local news organization in the United States with 260 daily newspapers plus the USA TODAY and many non-daily print and online only news outlets.

In the UK, its Newsquest division has more than 150 local media brands and a network of websites. 25% of revenue is driven by digital products sold across all brands, which include ThriveHive, ReachLocal, Wordstream, and sweetIQ. Gannett also own and operate the largest high school athlete recognition program in the US and is the second largest producer of endurance events in North America.

Gannett said in a statement announcing the sale, "We are excited to continue to transform our business model to create a more agile and dynamic organization for our shareholders, employees and for sustaining local journalism."

Gannett is externally managed and advised by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC, a global investment management firm. This management agreement will be sunset at the end of 2021 as a condition of the Merger.

On August 5, 2019, New Media announced its intention to acquire Gannett for a combination of cash and stock. On September 26, 2019, New Media disclosed that the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976 as expired in regards to the merger on September 25, 2019.

On October 23, 2019, New Media announced that the European Commission had provided regulatory clearance under the EU Merger Regulation for the Merger. This concluded all required regulatory reviews. On November 14, 2019, New Media and Gannett announced that their respective stockholders had approved all of the proposals necessary to complete the merger. On November 19, 2019, the merger was closed.

Source: Gannett 11.19.2019 www.gannett.com