February 20, 2015 Last Updated 3:23 pm

Greece negotiations with EZ finance ministers resumes; New Media’s buying spree continues

New Media Investment Group continues massive buying spree, snapping up Stephens Media LLC, publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in $102.5 million deal

Five years ago, when TNM was first launched, much of the content that appeared on these digital pages involved the daily news. Being a blog, I felt that I could write about any subject – after all, no one was reading, right? As time went on, the so-called “Morning Brief” was used to point out news events that this site’s few readers might overlook as they were starting their work day. Stories on the Arab Spring would be a good example.

Since the launch of the this site, events in Greece have been a constant. Greece’s economic troubles and debt to foreign banks led to the demise of the Socialist government of George Papandreou, which was then followed by the New Democracy government led by Antonis Samaras. The news had, and has, nothing to do with digital publishing, and probably is a bore to many TNM readers (though none have complained about my occasional mentions of world news).

GG-1Today is probably a culmination of events these past five years. Greece, with its new government led by Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipras, is in contentious negotiations which look to be leading to a climax today. Later this afternoon in Brussels, negotiations will begin again that will attempt to resolve a standoff between the new Greek government, which is seeking to ease austerity requirements, and Eurozone finance ministers, who want Greece to continue down the same path it has taken these past few years.

A new deal, which still seems likely, would probably bolster the Euro and possibly ease demands on Greece. No deal, and Greece could exit the single currency, with unknown consequences.

The best result is most likely that an announcement is made late tonight (Brussels time) that a deal has been made, and Greece falls off the front pages of newspaper around the world. No deal, and it will lead the news all weekend.

Speaking of debt…

LVRJ-frontNew Media Investments Group, a private equity funded newspaper chain that has been buying up properties, bought Stephens Media LLC, and with it the Las Vegas Review-Journal. New Media currently owns 133 daily newspapers and 250 paid weekly publications in the U.S. The company is what remains of what used to be called Gatehouse Media, a company that declared bankruptcy in 2013, reorganized as New Media Investment Group Inc. and have continued on with its acquisitions.

New Media will pay $102.5 million for Stephens Media, having paid $280 million for last month’s acquisition of Halifax Media Group. Last year, New Media paid $46 million for the Providence Journal, buying the paper from A.H. Belo.

New Media will announce its earnings on Tuesday of next week.

DM-cover-smEach time a new set of magazine circulation reports come out the news has not been good. Reports from the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia have all showed the industry struggling to maintain readership. Today the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa released figures that show magazine circulations falling 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

In Australia, newspapers were actually able to report steady or growing circulation, but in South Africa newspaper circulations struggled as in the rest of the world.

You can read a full report on MarkLives.com.

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