In a merger of two of the country's biggest newspaper companies, GateHouse Media, which owns the Columbus Dispatch, is buying Gannett Co., owner of USA Today and the Cincinnati Enquirer, for about $1.4 billion. The combined company would have more than 260 daily papers in the U.S., along with more than 300 weeklies, or "more than one-sixth of all remaining daily newspapers," according to Nieman Lab. In Ohio, the merger puts most of the state's local papers under one roof.
In addition to the Enquirer, Gannett's Ohio papers include the Chillicothe Gazette, Coshocton Tribune, Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, Loudonville Times, Mansfield News-Journal, Marion Star, Newark Advocate, Port Clinton News Herald and Zanesville Times Recorder.
GateHouse properties include the local ThisWeek papers, the Alliance Review, Ashland Times-Gazette, Canton Repository, The Daily Jeffersonian, Kent Record-Courier, Massillon Independent, Minverva News Leader, New Philadelphia Times-Reporter, Wooster Daily Record and Akron Beacon Journal.
The decline of print media has been well documented, with few exceptions, as consumers increasingly turn their attention to online and social media. Both Gannett and GateHouse estimate they can save $275-300 million in annual costs within 24 months. Savings would come from "increased scale of the new organization, sharing of best practices, leveraging existing infrastructure, facility rationalization and other judicious cost reductions," according to a report in USA Today.
The combined company is keeping the Gannett name and its headquarters in McLean, Va. The acquisition is expected to close at the end of the year.