Walton Sun, Halifax Media Group, to be acquired by New Media Investment Group Inc.
Halifax Media Group, owner of the The Walton Sun and 35 other newspapers and affiliated web sites, has agreed to be acquired by New Media Investment Group Inc.
New Media, a publicly traded company, said it will pay $280 million in cash for Halifax, subject to adjustments. The deal is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2015.
“This is a very exciting day for our Company,” Michael E. Reed, New Media’s President and CEO, said in announcing the acquisition today. “Halifax Media is one of the premier, locally oriented media companies in the United States.”
Michael Redding, who as CEO rapidly built Halifax over the past four years, said “By combining New Media’s geographic footprint with Halifax Media’s Southeast reach it will be a powerhouse in the industry.”
Halifax newspapers, including 24 dailies primarily in the Southeast, have total daily circulation of approximately 635,000 and 752,000 on Sundays. Combined digital traffic amounts to more than 80 million page views a month. The company has nearly 3,000 employees.
New Media is one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the U.S with 450 community publications and over 370 related web sites. New Media has been actively acquiring newspapers, having spent approximately $430 million on local media assets in little over one year, including the Halifax deal. Last year, it added the Dow Jones Local Media Group of eight dailies and 15 weeklies to its lineup and acquired the Providence Journal earlier this year.
“Halifax’s publications are all well-established, leading providers of local news in the communities they serve,” said New Media’s Reed. “Additionally, the acquisition further diversifies New Media’s business from both a geographic and customer standpoint. These markets also present a tremendous opportunity for New Media to expand its digital businesses, Propel and BestRide, as these markets expand our footprint of small and mid-size businesses we will be able to reach.”
Halifax was created in 2010 by investment partners Stephens Capital Partners Inc., JAARSSS Media, and Redding Investments. After the initial purchase of the Daytona Beach News-Journal in 2010 the company acquired The New York Times Regional Media Group, a network of about 15 newspapers and web sites primarily in the Southeast. Within a year, Halifax bought an additional 19 newspapers from Freedom Communications, located in North Carolina and Northwest Florida. Recently, Halifax added the Daily Commercial (Leesburg, FL), South Lake Press (Clermont, FL) and Worcester Telegram and Gazette in central Massachusetts.
New Media’s Reed took notice of Halifax’s fast growth.
“Redding and his team have done a wonderful job building one of the best local media businesses in the country,” he said. “We look forward to continuing their tradition of producing high quality local content and products serving their communities.”
Redding called it an honor to lead Halifax, praising the talent of its employees.
“Their dedication to excellence has helped us build an extraordinary company,” he said. “There is so much potential for these publications, especially with our digital products and services.”
Skip Foster said he looked forward to the opportunities that will come with new ownership and that the local team would certainly keep its focus on providing the region’s most comprehensive local news coverage.