The Akron Beacon Journal has been acquired by GateHouse Media, a subsidiary of New Media Investment Group Inc., for $16 million.
Essentially all of the publishing and related assets of the Beacon Journal, including its Ohio.com website, will change hands from Black Press Ltd., the paper’s current owner, to New York-based GateHouse in a deal that’s expected to close in the second quarter.
The Beacon Journal reported that the sale does not include its building at 44 E. Exchange St. in downtown Akron. Citing GateHouse executives, the paper says the company will sign a short-term lease for the building, which Black Press will continue to own.
Black Press, based in British Columbia, has owned the Beacon Journal for 12 years. The paper has about 245 employees; 165 are full-time, according to the Beacon’s report.
GateHouse, which owns The Columbus Dispatch and The Canton Repository, also owns a slew of local papers that it acquired through its purchase of Dix Communications. Those include The Record-Courier in Kent-Ravenna, The Daily Record in Wooster, The Alliance Review, The Aurora Advocate, The Cuyahoga Falls News-Press, The Hudson Hub-Times, The Streetsboro Gateway News, The Stow Sentry, The Tallmadge Express, The Twinsburg Bulletin and The Nordonia Hills News-Leader, according to the Beacon’s report.
“Our commitment to telling the story of Akron and Summit County with our professional journalists remains as strong as ever,” Bruce Winges, editor and vice president of Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, said in the paper’s report. “We look forward to exploring how to improve our coverage by working with other GateHouse news organizations in Ohio and our region.”
GateHouse executives told the paper they will make job offers to Beacon Journal employees before the close of the sale; employees will have the option of accepting or rejecting the offers. The deal does not include labor contracts.
“The Akron Beacon Journal is a great addition to our large Ohio footprint of properties,” New Media CEO Michael E. Reed said in a press release. “In addition to being a long-standing dominant source of award-winning journalism, its proximity to our properties in Wooster, Canton and Columbus is very exciting as we see many opportunities for growth. We look forward to working with the team in Akron to further enhance the partnership the publications have within their community.”