News Corp. sells Dow Jones Local Media Group to Fortress Investment affiliate

News Corp. is selling Dow Jones Local Media Group to an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, and the newspapers will be managed by GateHouse Media. (Fortress is the majority owner of GateHouse.)

Press release

News Corp Sells Dow Jones Local Media Group

News Corp announced today that it has sold the Dow Jones Local Media Group, which operates 33 publications, including 8 daily and 15 weekly newspapers, to an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC.
The Dow Jones Local Media Group daily newspaper franchises include the Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.); Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.); The Record (Stockton, Calif.); The Standard-Times (New Bedford, Mass.); The Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, Penn.); The Herald (Portsmouth, N.H.); The Mail Tribune (Medford, Ore.), and The Daily Tidings (Ashland, Ore.). In addition to daily and weekly newspapers, the Dow Jones Local Media Group operates other print and online community media, including web sites, magazines as well as news and advertising niche publications.

The Dow Jones Local Media Group operations will be managed by GateHouse Media, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States with a portfolio of products that includes over 400 community publications and approximately 350 related websites.

Waller Capital Partners, a leading independent investment bank focused on the telecommunications, media and technology sectors, advised Dow Jones on the sale of the Local Media Group.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Here’s the memo sent to GateHouse employees:

TO: GateHouse Media Employees
FROM: Mike Reed, CEO
DATE: September 3, 2013

Good Afternoon,

News Corp announced today that it has sold its Dow Jones Local Media Group. The purchase was made by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Fortress is also the majority owner of GateHouse Media and has engaged GateHouse Media to provide management services for the properties./CONTINUES

Beginning today, GateHouse Media will manage 33 Local Media Group (LMG) publications, including 8 daily newspapers and 15 weekly newspapers in 7 states. The daily newspaper franchises included in the sale are Ashland Daily Tidings in Oregon; Cape Cod Times of Barnstable, MA; Mail Tribune of Oregon; Pocono Record of Stroudsburg, PA; The Portsmouth Herald of Portsmouth, NH; The Record of Stockton, CA; The Standard-Times of New Bedford, MA; and Times Herald-Record of Middletown, NY.

Coinciding with today’s announcement, GateHouse Media will have a senior executive at each LMG daily newspaper office either today or tomorrow, as we thought it would be timely to have some of our senior staff members visit the properties and meet employees.

We are pleased to announce that Bernie Szachara has been named General Manager of LMG, and will report to Kirk Davis, President and Chief Operating Officer of GateHouse Media. Bernie is an accomplished media executive who spent the bulk of the past 10+ years working in information technology, production, digital product development, strategy, and revenue diversification. Specifically, Bernie’s most recent work involved independently consulting for FTI Consulting, a business advisory firm, and more importantly, serving as Executive Vice- President/Strategic Initiatives, Operations and IT for The Denver Post. Prior to Denver, Bernie spent 20 years with Gannett in senior operations and IT roles. He received his BS in Production Management from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and his MBA in Business/Commerce from RIT as well.

We look forward to working closely with LMG’s publishers and sharing ideas across both companies. The properties that comprise LMG are highly respected. Moreover, the management teams from both companies share a common belief that the future for local media holds much promise.

Thank you.

* From 2007: GateHouse is eyeing Dow Jones’ community newspapers (