Schurz Communications sold its publishing division—comprising 20 newspapers including the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune whose founding began the company 147 years ago—to GateHouse Media.
In a press release, Schurz said it “will continue investing in the areas of cloud and managed IT services and broadband operations.”
Terms of the sale, which was scheduled to close Feb. 1, were not immediately announced. Moorgate Securities, LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Schurz Communications in connection with this transaction.
In a column to readers January 29, Schurz CEO Todd Schurz said advertising revenue at the newspapers had fallen by half over the past dozen years.
“Given the challenges to the industry and our size, we could not be the publisher nor the employer that we aspire to be, so we determined it was time for our family to exit and find the next owner and steward of these businesses,” he wrote. “These newspapers will be better and stronger with GateHouse, which brings the skills, expertise and scale to better manage this changing landscape and thrive in the future.”
Schurz was founded in 1872 by brothers-in-law Alfred Miller and Elmer Crockett, who published the first edition of The Tribune on March 9 of that year.
Among the larger newspapers included in the sale to GateHouse are the Herald-Timesin Bloomington, Indiana; The Petoskey(Michigan) News-Review;The American Newsin Aberdeen, South Dakota; and The Herald-Mailin Hagerstown, Maryland.
The sale increases the footprint of GateHouse, which before the acquisition owned 145 dailies and operated in 550 markets across 37 states. The purchase represents GateHouse’s first publications in Indiana and South Dakota.
Schurz executives and board members agreed to the sale after deciding GateHouse would offer a scale of operations that can make the newspapers more competitive and successful long term, employees were told in a Monday morning meeting.
“Our leadership team, board of directors and ownership group are dedicated to helping the company stay true to its roots of fostering communication and connections while charting a successful course for the future, CEO Schurz said in a statement.
“This is a natural next step forward in our evolution as a company given our mission to help solve challenges by linking people, businesses and communities,” he added. “We will continue to explore the types of investments that support our commitment to technology and anticipate adding new employees to our team and new companies to our portfolio in the near future.”
In the release, Schurz Communications noted its “technology focus began with the purchase of four broadband companies” and that it is “currently poised to complete the purchase of a fifth.”
In 2015, Schurz sold its television and radio broadcast stations.