Gannett Buys Bergen Record, Other N.J. Properties
Gannett, which owns USA TODAY and more than 100 local news properties, said Wednesday it has acquired certain assets of the North Jersey Media Group, including The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record, the (Passaic County, N.J.) Herald News and their affiliated digital properties.
The McLean, Va.-based company didn’t disclose the price on the transaction, which closed Wednesday. The new assets will contribute about $90 million in annual revenue and “will approach approximately corporate-average margins by the end of the first full year of operations,” Gannett said.
In the deal, Gannett also bought the Community News Group, the Magazine Group and the Events Group. Gannett already owns the Asbury Park Press and five other dailies in the region; the acquisition makes it the largest newspaper operator in New Jersey.
The Record has been owned by the Borg family since 1930 and is a renowned local news source that has broken prominent stories, including during its coverage of the controversy over the George Washington Bridge lane closure in Fort Lee that engulfed Gov. Chris Christie.
In 1971, the paper won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary. It was a 2002 finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in photography and a finalist in both 2008 and 2014 for local reporting.
“It is a bittersweet day for the Borg family as we are leaving the business after 86 years,” said Malcolm Borg, North Jersey Media Group’s chairman of the board. “However, we are very pleased that Gannett is acquiring The Record and North Jersey’s other media outlets. We have great respect for Gannett, which is strong in the competitive New York/New Jersey market.”
About a year ago, Gannett’s former parent spun off its publishing business to focus on broadcasting and digital businesses. The former parent changed its name from Gannett to TEGNA. The spun-off unit retained the name Gannett (GCI).
The new Gannett, under the leadership of Chief Executive Robert Dickey, is seeking to consolidate the local news market by buying more newspapers and their digital units, a strategy it hopes will lead to more cost savings and diversified advertising offerings for businesses in its local and national media outlets.
“Gannett continues to execute on its local market growth strategy,” Dickey said in a statement. “This latest acquisition positions the company to be the leading news provider in the state of New Jersey.”
As part of its consolidation strategy, Gannett paid $280 million earlier this year to buy Journal Media Group, which owned the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and 14 other newspapers. Gannett also has made an offer to pay $15 per share for Tronc, owner of the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and nine other dailies.
After the latest acquisition, Gannett operates 110 dailies, including USA TODAY, in 34 states and Guam. It also owns 19 dailies in the United Kingdom as part of its Newsquest division.
District Capital Partners acted as the buyside advisor to Gannett.