Updated: Newspaper giants announce massive merger

Aug. 4, 2019

The nation’s two largest newspaper chains are set to become one.

GateHouse Media, which owns 156 daily papers including the American News in Aberdeen and the Watertown Public Opinion, is planning to acquire Gannett, which owns USA Today and more than 100 other newspapers including the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls.

The combined company will keep the Gannett name and be based in Washington, D.C. It will own and operate 265 daily newspapers nationwide, which is one out of every six, and thousands of weekly newspapers.

Each company is scheduled to report quarterly earnings Tuesday.

The combined circulation would be more than 8 million, making it by the far the largest newspaper chain nationwide. The next closest, McClatchy, is less than 2 million.

The companies estimate they can save $275 million to $300 million in annual costs within 24 months, according to this USA Today report.

“The merged company would control an unprecedentedly large share of American newspapers. But those newspapers, even when bought in bulk, are far weaker than they were in the industry’s glory days, with shrunken revenues, circulation and influence,” news analyst Ken Doctor wrote in this analysis for the Nieman Journalism Lab.

“And no matter how big its combined digital audience, the new company’s share of attention will still be no match for Google, Facebook and the lesser nobility of digital advertising. It’s a very big slice of a much smaller pie.”

Argus Leader Media has had its first floor space at 217 S. Minnesota Ave. listed for lease since 2017. It has been mostly vacated as operations have moved to the second floor.

The building dates back to 1955 and still includes a printing press.

Jodi’s Journal: For insight into the media industry, consider how you shop

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Updated: Newspaper giants announce massive merger

The nation’s two largest newspaper chains are set to become one, according to multiple industry sources.

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