MediaNews Group and 21st Century Media get merged into Digital First Media

The retirement of Dean Singleton has apparently cleared the way for the merging of MediaNews Group into Digital First Media, the media company owned by private equity firm Alden Global Capital. Also coming along for the ride will be 21st Century Media, which is what the twice bankrupt Journal Register Company is now called.

“This transaction will allow us even more opportunities to accelerate our transformative digital strategy and accelerate growth,” Digital First Media CEO John Paton said in a statement.

“Now under Digital First Management,” Paton wrote on his blog, “we will have a single local media powerhouse with 67 million customers coupled with a stand-alone, innovative digital division, Digital First Ventures, and its rapidly growing portfolio of partnerships.”

Digital First Media has been a big proponent of digital media, but without actually launching many interesting digital media products. It, in fact, outsources much of its efforts to third party vendors such as Spreed.

The company has been shedding both assets and personnel over the past few years, and is now counting on its digital ad network, Ad Taxi, to grow revenue in its extremely large set of newspapers titles.

Papers owned by Digital First Media include the Denver Post, Detroit News, Contra Costa Times, San Jose Mercury News, St. Paul Pioneer Press, The Salt Lake Tribune, The Oakland Press, The Macomb Daily and the New Haven Register. It is, in short, a frighteningly large group of properties.

Pass the popcorn.

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