WSJ report: Journal Media Group sale to Gannett could be announced as soon as tomorrow
Financial newspaper says sales price could be as high as $300 million, a huge premium over Journal Media’s market cap of $192 million
The entire lifespan of Journal Media Group may be just over six months, if a report from The Wall Street Journal is accurate. According to the financial newspaper, the sale of Journal Media to Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, could be announced tomorrow.
Journal Media is the combination of the newspaper properties of Journal Communications, publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the print properties of E.W. Scripps. The two companies swapped media properties 190 days ago, with Scripps getting broadcast, and the new Journal Media getting print.
The deal sounds like folly, after all, who wants print these days? But the deal also wiped out the debt of Journal Communications and so was seen as favorable to both sides.
Now, if the WSJ report is true, the newspapers of Journal Media, which also includes such papers as The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, and Ventura County Star in California would become Gannett papers (which many in the newspaper industry equate to a fate worst than death, though few dare say it).
Gannett itself is the product of a newspaper spin-off, with the broadcast properties of Gannett now the company TEGNA and Gannett solely print newspapers. Even the digital media properties that serviced the newspapers went to TEGNA, so Gannett may soon be known as The Island of Misfit Toys, or at least unwanted print newspapers.
Even odder is that the WSJ is saying that they have heard that the sales price is $300 million, a big premium over the current market value of Journal Media of $192 million. Not surprisingly, Journal media Group stock is up in after market trading.
We’ll soon see if the WSJ report is true – after all, the NYPost, another Murdoch paper is pretty sure the Meredith-Media General deal is dead, too.