Journal Media Group acquisition delayed again

Gannett deal still under regulatory review

Journal Media Group
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offices and former Journal Media Group headquarters in downtown Milwaukee.

The acquisition of Milwaukee-based Journal Media Group by McLean, Va.-based media titan Gannett Co. Inc. will not close by March 31 as expected.

Journal Media Group
Journal Media Group’s Milwaukee headquarters.

The transaction was originally scheduled to close by March 1, but has been delayed by the review of the deal by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Gannett today released a short statement about the transaction delay, but representatives were not immediately available for further comment.

No specific timeline was given for the closure of the transaction. According to the release: “Gannett is continuing to work through the review process with the U.S. Department of Justice, and looks forward to closing the transaction on a timely basis.”

Journal shareholders on March 1 approved the pending $280 million acquisition, through which they would receive $12 per share in cash.

The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division approval is the last piece needed before the transaction can close. The Antitrust Division, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and others could challenge the merger on antitrust grounds.

Journal Media Group was formed April 1, 2015 through the merger of Milwaukee’s Journal Communications and The E.W. Scripps Co. The newspaper and publishing operations were spun off and combined in the new Milwaukee-based company Journal Media Group, which has about 3,000 employees nationwide. The group includes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and its digital products, and daily newspapers and related digital offerings in 13 other U.S. markets, which include the Naples Daily News, the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

If the deal is completed, Gannett will oversee publications in 106 U.S. markets serving more than 100 million unique domestic digital visitors per month. The company, which operates USA Today as its flagship, expects to realize cost savings through shared printing and distribution assets and consolidated functions.

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