Pennsylvania Media Conglomerate Sells Four Daily Newspapers
Pennsylvania media conglomerate sells four daily newspapers to MediaNews Group, ending 130 years of local ownership. Times-Shamrock retains radio and billboard operations.
SCRANTON, Pa. — In a significant development, a Pennsylvania media conglomerate has sold its four daily newspapers to publishing powerhouse MediaNews Group, bringing an end to nearly 130 years of local ownership. The announcement was made by Times-Shamrock Communications CEO Jim Lewandowski.
The newspapers included in the sale are The Times-Tribune of Scranton, The Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre, the Republican Herald of Pottsville, and the (Hazleton) Standard-Speaker. Additionally, Times-Shamrock's weeklies, commercial printing business, and other divisions were part of the deal.
However, Times-Shamrock will retain control of its radio and billboard operations, as well as the iconic Scranton Times building located downtown.
The terms of the sale were not disclosed.
MediaNews Group is owned by Alden Global Capital, a New York hedge fund that has gained a reputation for buying newspapers and implementing strict budget cuts that often lead to job losses. This has resulted in criticism from various quarters.
While a majority of Times-Shamrock's shareholders approved the sale, certain members of the family that has controlled the company since 1895 expressed their opposition. Former publisher George Lynett and his children, who are all shareholders, released a statement expressing their disappointment in selling to a company with a questionable reputation in the industry.
Times-Shamrock CEO Jim Lewandowski sent a memo to the staff acknowledging that the decision to sell was incredibly tough and was influenced by the challenging landscape of the newspaper industry.
At this point, MediaNews Group has not commented on the acquisition or any plans for layoffs. However, according to a document shared with Times-Shamrock employees, it appears that the new owner will offer employment to almost all existing employees, with only a few exceptions for crossover team members working in both print and radio.
As the Pennsylvania media landscape undergoes significant changes, only time will tell how this acquisition will ultimately impact the future of these newspapers and the communities they serve.