Here’s the press release from Jonathan Cooper, Vice President Media Relations & Employee Communications for Digital First Media:
Digital First Media today announced the MediaNews Group and 21st Century Media combination has been finalized and that the two Companies will operate under the Digital First Media name.
The transaction, first announced on December 17, brings together the two companies jointly managed by Digital First Media under one name.
The newly combined company has approximately $1.3 billion in annual revenues with more than 800 multi-platform products and a monthly audience of more than 67 million Americans. As the nation’s second largest newspaper company, Digital First Media is among the largest providers of digital news and information in the United States.
“This is an important moment for our Company and positions us to accelerate our growth under a single and innovative brand,” said John Paton, Chief Executive Officer of Digital First Media.
For a little background, read CEO John Paton’s Dec. 17 blog post, The First Step on the Rest of the Journey.
Just for fun, here’s a little history, courtesy of Wikipedia:
MediaNews Group was founded by Richard Scudder and William Dean Singleton in 1983. Singleton was a pioneer in “clustering”—developing groups of newspapers that centralized a variety of functions, including production, ad sales, business operations and, in some cases, editorial. An example of this was the Alameda Newspaper Group in suburban San Francisco, where in the mid-1990s, a central newsroom in Pleasanton, California, did all the copy editing, layout and page makeup for five daily papers. Upon acquiring the diverse group of papers, Singleton consolidated several news sections (such as sports and features) to one local office away from the metropolitan area, having a few reporters do the job of what had been many individuals. This subsequently gutted each newsroom, leaving far less local news than before.
He was also a pioneer at developing pooled-asset partnerships. Among the first were papers in California, which included papers from Gannett Co. Inc., Stephens Media Group and MediaNews. Singleton’s company contributed Los Angeles Daily News and the ANG operation, as well as other papers, while Stephens contributed papers such as the Vallejo Times Herald and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Ontario. A year after forming the partnership, the duo allowed Gannett to enter, with its contributions including the San Bernardino Sun and the Marin Independent Journal.
MediaNews has entered into similar partnerships in Texas and Pennsylvania with Gannett and in Colorado with The E.W. Scripps Company.
In August 2006, the company took out around $350 million in loans to purchase four newspapers from McClatchy Company. Among those providing the loan was the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The loan was mostly used to help pay for the acquisition of two significant San Francisco Bay Area newspapers (and some smaller papers), including the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times, the dominant papers in the San Jose and Contra Costa County, California markets; in total, the purchases amounted to roughly $737 million.
Hearst Corporation owns 31% of MediaNews publications outside the San Francisco Bay area. Form 10-Q
In 2004, MediaNews Group acquired the York Daily Record, a 45,000 circulation morning paper in York, Pennsylvania.
On January 16, 2010, the Associated Press reported that Affiliated Media, parent of MediaNews will file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Under the plan, company debt would fall to $165 million from about $930 million. Senior lenders would swap debt for stock. It came out of bankruptcy in March 2010 under the majority ownership of its lenders. The MediaNews creditors then removed Media News president Joseph Lodovic and its chairman, William Dean Singleton, was reassigned to the position of “executive chairman of the board.” The Singleton-Lodovic appointees to the MediaNews board were replaced by new directors representing the stockholders group led by Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund firm which has acquired a large, though not controlling, stake. Several interim executive positions were also filled by people related to Alden or its parent, Smith Management LLC.