In recent months, it seems, top US newspaper companies have been speed dating. In May, The Wall Street Journal reported that Gannett, the biggest of these companies by circulation, had talked to all of GateHouse, McClatchy, and Tribune—formerly tronc, with which Gannett has a messy history—about a potential merger. (By this point, Gannett had already rebuffed the only suitor to have gone public with its interest: Digital First Media, the hedge-fund-backed publisher notorious for brutal cost-slashing at its properties.) Of these possible pairings, the notion of a Gannett–GateHouse partnership was perhaps the most striking: GateHouse—itself backed by private equity and hardly of glowing journalistic reputation—is America’s second biggest newspaper chain after Gannett, and owns even more dailies than its larger rival.
It now looks like this pairing might last. Late last week, the Journal’s Cara Lombardo and Dana Cimilluca reported that Gannett and GateHouse are close to a deal; an official announcement could follow in the next few weeks. According to Nieman Lab’s Ken Doctor—who has long foreseen a major move to consolidate the media industry—the combined company would own 265 daily titles with a total print circulation nearing 9 million readers. That’s one of every six daily newspapers in America. “The hunt for scale seems to be ending with a merger of No. 1 and No. 2,” Doctor writes. Some scale.
How would the merger work in practice? It’s not totally clear yet; both Gannett and GateHouse are keeping quiet.
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/gannett_gatehouse_merger.php