BIG SALE: News Corp. unloaded the group of 33 local newspapers known collectively as the Dow Jones Local Media Group for an undisclosed amount Tuesday afternoon. The buyer is Fortress Investment Group, whose affiliate, GateHouse Media is a large publisher of local newspapers, shoppers and news Web sites.
The papers in the local media group included the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, New York, the Cape Cod Times of Hyannis, Massachusetts, and properties in Pennsylvania, California, and Oregon. The sale does not include the Community News Group, which publishes The Brooklyn Paper, a weekly it’s owned since 2009, though its future is also in doubt with the departure in July of Les Goodstein, its senior vice president.
News Corp. began exploring a sale of the local group in late April, according to the Wall Street Journal, as it was preparing to split on June 28 into two companies – one focusing on entertainment and another on publishing consisting of the Journal, the New York Post, and other legacy papers.
“We are confident that the papers will prosper under the new owners, but they were not strategically consistent with the emerging portfolio of the new News,” Robert Thomson, News Corp. chief executive, said.
The sale comes after several media properties have changed hands this year, including, in a single week in early August, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and Newsweek.
The New York Times Company, which owned the Globe, had already beat News Corp. in the sale of its regional media group two years ago, when it sold those 16 papers for $143 million in cash.