Bankruptcy court greenlights Reading Eagle sale to MediaNews Group


The sale of the 37,000-circulation Reading Eagle to MediaNews Group has been approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Pennsylvania.

In an article reported by David Mekeel, the Eagle reported that court approved the minimum bid of $5 million that MediaNews Group submitted for the assets of the company.

Dirks, Van Essen, Murray & April, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is representing Reading Eagle Company in the transaction.

MediaNews Group owns a number of newspapers in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania, including the Pottstown Mercury, the Daily Times in Delaware County, the West Chester Daily Local News and the Norristown Times Herald.

The Reading Eagle has been owned by the same family since it was founded in 1868. Its president and CEO Peter Barbey is the great-great grandson of the newspaper’s founder, Jesse Hawley.

In 2009, the family completed a significant expansion to the company's downtown presence with the opening of a 77,000-square-foot addition to its headquarters. The facility was built to house a new press and consolidated distribution center.

The Reading Eagle, with Sunday circulation 51,000, serves the greater Berks County market in the southeastern region of the state. The company's weekly South Schuylkill News is published in Schuylkill County, just north of Berks County. Reading is located about halfway between Philadelphia, the state's most populous city, and Harrisburg, the state capital.

The transaction is expected to close this summer.