Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Standard Times to Go with Journal Media Group

E.W. Scripps, the parent company of the Standard Times, announced it would undertake a two stage deal with Journal Communications, a Wisconsin based television, radio and newspaper company.  Stage one has the pair combining their television and radio properties.  Next the firms will join their newspapers, spinning them off into a new company, Journal Media Group.

Scripps and Journal Communications will spin off newspaper holdings into Journal Media Group, a new public company headquartered in Milwaukee and generating revenue of $500 million a year. Its holdings will include the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel and the Ventura County (Calif.) Star, among others.
Scripps shareholders will own 59 percent of the new newspaper company, Journal Media Group, and Journal Communications shareholders will own 41 percent.
The newspaper company will not have any debt, nor will it be saddled with pension obligations.  Management will hold a call on the deal tomorrow morning.

I read the Standard Times piece on the deal and found it confusing and uninformative on deal details. Fortunately other articles provided basic information on the merger-spinoff plan.  The deal has a financial machination feel.  It will be interesting to see who benefits more, current shareholders or newspaper employees?

The deal seemed like an abrupt change from the company's digital strategy and their plans to leverage sales across various media platforms.  That said, a debt free, pension free newspaper company may be able to survive longer.

I feel for the Standard Times and the many machinations they've endured as their industry and management upheaved.  I hope this one works out well for our local paper.  I've traditionally been a fan and hope the paper returns to its former glory.  

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